Washington Post Post Mortem on Stevens Case

Clarice Feldman
The Washington Post reports today (with less fanfare than it reports gossip about the First Family's dog) the aftermath of the announced investigation into the legal team that prosecuted Ted Stevens:
Prosecutors and FBI agents are hiring their own lawyers and pointing the finger at one another, even as a special prosecutor and the department's ethics watchdogs are trying to determine whether members of the team broke the law to cheat their way to victory or merely succumbed to lapses of incompetence, inexperience or lax supervision.

I found some revelations particularly interesting:

Former department attorneys, for example, cited chronic problems that have plagued the unit: competition and confusion with partner prosecutors in U.S. attorney's offices around the country. Federal prosecutors in the District, for instance, were consulted about the Stevens case starting in 2006 but declined to participate, thinking that the charges were shaky [emphasis added], according to sources familiar with the discussions. The assistant U.S. attorneys also considered overly aggressive the prosecutors' early plan, later abandoned, to get a warrant to search the lawmaker's D.C. area home, the sources said. [snip]

Others said the Stevens case, along with the acquittal of former Puerto Rican governor Anibal Acevedo Vilá (D) last month, exposed deeper problems with a lack of supervision of the Public Integrity Section, which has experienced heavy turnover.

"In high-profile cases, particularly cases involving public officials, the vetting process has fallen down," said Thomas C. Green, a Washington defense lawyer who won Vilá's acquittal. "I think what happens is that they get caught up in the competition and there's no experienced voice of reason who says we cannot do this, we should not do this, we must not do this. These two cases could not have happened if the vetting process was in place and operating as it should."
The Washington Post reports today (with less fanfare than it reports gossip about the First Family's dog) the aftermath of the announced investigation into the legal team that prosecuted Ted Stevens:
Prosecutors and FBI agents are hiring their own lawyers and pointing the finger at one another, even as a special prosecutor and the department's ethics watchdogs are trying to determine whether members of the team broke the law to cheat their way to victory or merely succumbed to lapses of incompetence, inexperience or lax supervision.

I found some revelations particularly interesting:

Former department attorneys, for example, cited chronic problems that have plagued the unit: competition and confusion with partner prosecutors in U.S. attorney's offices around the country. Federal prosecutors in the District, for instance, were consulted about the Stevens case starting in 2006 but declined to participate, thinking that the charges were shaky [emphasis added], according to sources familiar with the discussions. The assistant U.S. attorneys also considered overly aggressive the prosecutors' early plan, later abandoned, to get a warrant to search the lawmaker's D.C. area home, the sources said. [snip]

Others said the Stevens case, along with the acquittal of former Puerto Rican governor Anibal Acevedo Vilá (D) last month, exposed deeper problems with a lack of supervision of the Public Integrity Section, which has experienced heavy turnover.

"In high-profile cases, particularly cases involving public officials, the vetting process has fallen down," said Thomas C. Green, a Washington defense lawyer who won Vilá's acquittal. "I think what happens is that they get caught up in the competition and there's no experienced voice of reason who says we cannot do this, we should not do this, we must not do this. These two cases could not have happened if the vetting process was in place and operating as it should."