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Judge in Ted Stevens Case No Shrinking Violet

Judge Emmet Sullivan has never been shy about voicing his opinion on the bench and during the trial of Sen. Ted Stevens, he showed just how tough he could be, chastising the government.  He may have dismissed the conviction in the Stevens case, but he’s not done going after the government in that case.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan/court photo

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan/court photo

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan was irate when he accused the Justice Department of “hiding the ball” after its lawyers did not produce a document that undercut a key witness.

“Unfortunately, I can’t trust the government,” he said, adding that “someone’s going to pay a price.”

It was the first of two tirades in a week that the judge let loose on government lawyers over their handling of evidence.

First, he rebuked them in a case challenging the detention of a man at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The second scolding came during a packed hearing Tuesday, before he dismissed the conviction of former senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) on corruption charges.

The harangues captured the vintage Sullivan, who has spent more than 20 years on the bench, recently presiding over a series of high-profile cases and building a reputation as a formidable, if unpredictable, presence in the courtroom.

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