He’ll have a chance to enjoy many relaxing hours in that Brookstone massage chair after all. NPR’s Nina Totenberg reports this morning that AG Eric Holder has decided to drop all charges against the cantakerous former Senator from Alaska.:
According to Justice Department officials, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has decided to drop the case against Stevens rather than continue to defend the conviction in the face of persistent problems stemming from the actions of prosecutors.
The judge in the Stevens case has repeatedly delayed sentencing and criticized trial prosecutors for what he’s called prosecutorial misconduct. At one point, prosecutors were held in contempt. Things got so bad that the Justice Department finally replaced the trial team, including top-ranking officials in the office of public integrity. That’s the department’s section charged with prosecuting public corruption cases.
With more ugly hearings expected, Holder is said to have decided late Tuesday to pull the plug. Stevens’ lawyers are expected to be informed Wednesday morning that the department will dismiss the indictment against the former senator.
Holder’s decision is said to be based on Stevens’ age — he’s 85 — and because Stevens is no longer in the Senate. Perhaps most importantly, Justice Department officials say Holder wants to send a message to prosecutors throughout the department that actions he regards as misconduct will not be tolerated.