The ongoing snarl of legal issues surrounding the corruption conviction of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens has been made even more thorny by an FBI agent filing a whistleblower complaint seeking protection from retaliation.
The agent who worked on the Stevens investigation alleges in a formal complaint that an FBI agent working on the Stevens' case shared confidential information with numerous individuals who were under FBI investigation.
Included in the information disclosed, according to the complaint, were details about FBI investigative techniques and information about ongoing public corruption cases in Alaska.
The claims filed by the whistleblower could result in a major headache for the FBI.
According to the highly redacted complaint filed by the unnamed agent in the case, there were "many serious problems ... encountered in the recent trial of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens."
In a statement responding to the allegations of FBI misconduct, a Justice Department spokesman said, "We will continue to litigate in the court all matters, including these allegations, related to the jury's conviction of Senator Ted Stevens."
Stevens was found guilty in October of accepting $250,000 worth of gifts, primarily from now-defunct oil services company Veco Corp. and its former CEO, Bill Allen. Among the alleged gifts was the value of a home renovation project that transformed the senator's Girdwood, Alaska, home from a quaint cabin to a sizeable house, a $2,700 massage chair and a Viking gas grill.
The FBI agent, who joined the bureau in 2003, claims to have personally "witnessed or learned of serious violations of policy, rules, and procedures," even "possible criminal violations" by the prosecution team. The agent claims that one of the main investigators on the case had an improper relationship with Allen, the government's star witness, who, the agent says, was at the heart of public corruption in Alaska.
Part of the claim alleges that one of the FBI agents on the investigation may have disclosed grand jury information to Allen about the government's investigation into his activities.
"An FBI Special Agent has alleged that his or her colleagues engaged in intentional constitutional violations in the course of investigating and prosecuting this defendant and others," Stevens' defense team noted in a request to dismiss the conviction and seek a new trial.
The filing by the FBI agent also notes that there may have been issues surrounding an incident disclosed at trial that a potential witness, Rocky Williams, a former Veco employee, was returned to Alaska without informing Stevens' defense team or U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who presided over the case.
The agent notes in the complaint, "[Redacted name] advised [s/he] came up with a great plan to send Williams home ... even though Williams was also under a defense subpoena. I advised [government representatives] multiple times that they should advise the defense counsel and the judge before executing their plan. I was ignored. They had me send Williams home."
In a defense motion filed Monday asking that the conviction be overturned, Stevens' defense attorneys noted, "A whistleblower complaint submitted by a Special Agent with the FBI now confirms what the defense has long believed and alleged: the government cheated and lied in order to obtain a verdict against Senator Ted Stevens."
The defense has asked Sullivan to dismiss the conviction centered around the potentially damaging information alleged by the FBI whistleblower. Several of these issues have been referred to the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility for review, according to department officials.