Thursday, April 2, 2009

Good News for Perata?

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 11:48 AM

It may seem strange, but the decision by US Attorney General Eric Holder to ask that the conviction of ex-Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens be overturned could prove to be a good sign for former state Senator Don Perata. Holder made his decision because of prosecutorial misconduct in the Stevens case by the Justice Department's Public Integrity Unit. So what has that got to do with Perata? It turns out that the same unit that screwed up the Stevens case is also examining whether Perata should be indicted on public corruption charges.

Last month, Acting Sacramento US Attorney Lawrence Brown indicated to the Express that his office would not file charges against Perata without the Public Integrity Unit's okay, and that the Washington DC unit was assisting his office in its review of the case. The Sacramento US Attorney's Office took over the case after US Attorney's Office in San Francisco chose late last year to not to seek an indictment against the former state senator.

But now that the Public Integrity Unit's nose has been bloodied in the Stevens case, it begs the question of whether Holder plans to overhaul the department (the DC unit repeatedly withheld information favorable to Stevens from the senator's defense team, and apparently Holder believes that if that information had been disclosed, then Stevens might not have been convicted on public corruption charges). So if Holder does clean house, it could put any chance of Perata being charged in further doubt.

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