Murkowski: Stevens Trial Among Justice Department’s “Darkest Moments”

“It is too late to do justice to Senator Stevens, but we must do justice to the Constitution.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today submitted a statement for the record (attached in its entirety) in a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee focused on the independent investigator Henry Schuelke’s report on the prosecutorial misconduct surrounding the trial of Senator Ted Stevens.

Senator Murkowski addressed the misconduct of the Department of Justice prosecution team, her recent legislation that would attempt to eliminate future unethical prosecutions – and the lingering questions surrounding the Justice Department’s decision to not pursue charges against key witness Bill Allen.

Some key excerpts from her statement include:

  • “Mr. Schuelke’s report, released to the public on March 15, 2012, chronicles what I believe will be recorded by history among the darkest moments in the Justice Department’s 223 year history. It is important that its conclusions be reviewed and thoroughly considered by legislators, policy makers and judges.”
  • “It is too late to do justice to Senator Stevens or the people of Alaska. But we must do justice to the Constitution.”
  • “This affront to our Constitutional system is hardly trivial. If a standing United States Senator can be treated this way, and the Justice Department can nearly get away with it, just think what happens every day to the ordinary citizen – oftentimes a small business person – who finds himself or herself trapped in the federal criminal justice system.”
  • The term “government overreach” is frequently uttered in Washington and in our home states. We often understand the term to refer to differences regarding the proper role of government in the regulation of businesses and our personal lives. The conduct of Justice Department prosecutors in the trial of Senator Stevens raises the concept of “government overreach” to new heights. For this example of “government overreach” threatened not only the good name of a fine individual but also his freedom.”