I’ve written before about the wrongful conviction of the late Alaska Senator Ted Stevens just before the 2008 election, and how it changed history:
So many things had to go wrong for Obamacare to evade a Senate filibuster. Arlen Specter had to switch parties. Al Franken had to pull out a slight victory. And Senator Ted Stevens needed to lose reelection just after being convicted of corruption.
If any one of those had not happened, we would not have Obamacare.
In the Stevens case, the conviction was overturned later for prosecutorial misconduct. But the election results stood.
An independent report released last March detailed the prosecutorial misconduct:
The judge who presided over the Stevens trial appointed Henry F. Schuelke to investigate the prosecutors who handled the case. Schuelke’s 524-page report, which was unsealed this week, paints a picture of a prosecution team so hampered by infighting that disgruntled attorneys cut corners by assigning document-review duties to FBI and IRS agents who were left largely unsupervised. Crucial information — including the fact that trial witness Bill Allen had once bribed a child prostitute, whom he’d had a relationship with, to commit perjury, and that the home repairs in question were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars less than originally alleged — was never given to Stevens’ defense team.
The Justice Department has concluded its own investigation, and has given a slap on the wrist to two of the supervising attorney’s involved, with minimal suspensions:
The Justice Department has found that two prosecutors involved in the botched 2008 corruption trial of Senator Ted Stevens engaged in “reckless professional misconduct,” but it stopped short of firing the men, saying their mistakes were not intentional.
In a cover letter to a 672-page report provided to Congress on Thursday, alongside additional attachments and findings, the Justice Department said the two prosecutors would be suspended without pay — Joseph Bottini for 40 days, and James Goeke for 15 days….
There was at least one major difference, however: the special prosecutor concluded that Mr. Bottini and Mr. Goeke had intentionally withheld evidence, while the Justice Department investigation found that their mistakes — while showing reckless disregard for their disclosure obligations — were not deliberate.
As the letter linked in the quote indicated, the attorneys were deemed part of “civil service” and therefore were protected from firing except upon the most egregious circumstances, which apparently does not included recklessly convicting a sitting United States Senator up for reelection.