Sat 14 Jan, 2012 11:16 am
Jan. 13, 2012
Feds to probe why Ted Stevens witness Bill Allen wasn't tried in teen sex case
Sean Cockerham | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has agreed to investigate whether there was misconduct involved in federal prosecutors’ decision to stonewall the teen sex crime case against disgraced former Veco Corp. chairman Bill Allen.
The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility wrote Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski telling her it will launch a “preliminary inquiry into the misconduct allegations you have raised.”
Murkowski, who released a copy of the letter on Friday, wrote the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Justice Department’s inspector general in November asking for the investigation.
“The question of why the Justice Department not only declined to pursue sex-abuse charges against Mr. Allen, but also denied the State of Alaska the opportunity to do so, remains a matter of great public interest in the State of Alaska,” Murkowski wrote in the November letter.
Allen was released in November from a New Mexico halfway house after serving a sentence that began in January 2010 for bribing Alaska lawmakers. Allen was the key government witness in the botched federal investigation of corruption in Alaska politics, testifying at the trials of two state legislators and of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.
Stevens’ 2008 conviction was thrown out by a judge because federal prosecutors failed to turn over evidence that would have helped Stevens. The prosecutors’ questionable behavior included withholding information from defense lawyers about the teen sex-abuse allegations against Allen that could have made him less credible to jurors.
Anchorage police said they spent several years building the sex-abuse case against Allen. They worked with a federal prosecutor and were going to go to a grand jury and seek an indictment on charges that Allen violated the federal Mann Act, which forbids transporting a minor across state lines for “immoral and exploitative purposes.”
Among Allen’s accusers is a woman who says she first met the powerful Veco chairman when she was a 15-year-old prostitute in Spenard, and that he subsequently flew her between Seattle and Anchorage for sex when she was 16 years old.
But the Justice Department dropped the case in 2010, despite the recommendation by both the prosecutor and his supervisor that a grand jury hear it.
The Justice Department then refused the request by Alaska state prosecutors to take the case themselves, killing any chance Allen would be charged.
Attorney General Eric Holder shed little light on the decision to abandon the case when questioned by Murkowski in congressional hearings, saying only that it wasn’t because of political connections or Allen’s cooperation as a government witness in the Alaska corruption trials.
That’s when Murkowski called for an investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, which has the authority to investigate allegations of misconduct involving Justice Department attorneys. Brad Weinsheimer, acting counsel for the office, told Murkowski in the letter released Friday that the inquiry would go ahead and Murkowkski will be notified “when our determination is complete.”
Murkowski said Friday she wished Holder would have himself initiated a public investigation into why his Justice Department scuttled the case. But she said “it’s good to see action finally being taken.”
Allen violated the federal Mann Act, which forbids transporting a minor across state lines for “immoral and exploitative purposes.”
Footnote the Mann act is not limited to taking a minor across states lines for sex it deal with any transportation of a woman across state lines and having sex with that woman no matter what her age.
In other word if you take your girlfriend on vacation and have sex with her you can be charge under that act and in fact a famous black boxer was so charge for taking his white girlfriend from one state to another and convicted.
It is a law that is still on the books that date back to another era.
If it had gone to trial a large percents of the male jurors would had likely to had been guilt of the same crime at least by the letter of that law.
I don't know anything about this other than what I read here, but the massive high level corruption case was orders of magnatude more important than was the sex case. If this witness was critical to the case then leaving the sex case alone was appropreate. However, making impossible for the state to prosecute is problematic. The line for the feds should have been to not go out of their way to help Alaska, but to cooperate with evidence turn over requests.
Well the Mann act is a Federal crime just to start with not a state law.
Oh in 1985 by paying for my now wife and my three days cruise I am guilt of violating the Mann Act and as I stated so are all men who had paid for vacations with their girlfriends that cross states lines or international borders.
Not enough prisons in the world to place all these men in prison.