Monday, September 22, 2008
The jury selection process started in the trial of Senator Ted Stevens. Whether the defense is making a wise move to proceed quickly to trial remains to be seen - clearly for political reasons it allows Senator Stevens the ability to have a trial prior to facing re-election. But should the political issue be the focus when the accused faces possible prison time and a conviction? This can be a tough call for a politician facing criminal charges. On one hand if the accused believes him- or herself innocent, resolving the issue quickly prior to an election is important to avoid a loss premised on innuendos and charges. On the other hand, preparing for a federal trial takes time.
And the pressure is not exclusive to the accused. If the government takes the step to indict before an election, then they should be prepared to go to an immediate trial. Claims of needing more time should have been considered prior to issuing the Indictment of someone who will be on the ballot when the polls open.
The witness list in this case presents an interesting array of individuals, both Democrats and Republicans. (see here) The Indictment presents seven counts of false statements (see here). So far there been discovery issues for both sides. (see here and here). The question will be whether the evidence will start this week, and if so, what will it include.