Group rallies to defend Sen. Stevens' name

April 4, 2012 at 9:23 PM
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ANCHORAGE, Ala., April 4 (UPI) -- Supporters of the late Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, held a rally in Anchorage Wednesday, calling for accountability for the flawed corruption case against him.

A group calling itself Alaskans for Justice formed in an effort to rehabilitate Stevens' name after a 500-plus-page investigative report found the federal corruption investigation against him was poorly handled, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

"To this day there's really been no kind of follow-up on how poorly this has been handled," said Mary Ann Pease, an organizer of the rally.

The group, with support from Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan and other officials, is calling for the firing of two U.S. prosecutors, Joe Bottini and James Goeke, and FBI agent Mary Beth Kepner. The three were singled out in the report by special prosecutor Henry Schuelke.

A court initially found Stevens guilty of lying on his financial disclosure forms to conceal expensive gifts but a judge threw out the verdicts when prosecutors admitted they withheld evidence from the defense.

Alaskans for Justice are calling for a bill requiring prosecutors to turn over evidence that could help the defense, the newspaper said.

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