The "brief hearing" that evolved into formal status conference in Washington over the conduct of a witness in Sen. Ted Stevens' trial has evolved again, this time off Monday's court calendar entirely.
U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan on Friday canceled the hearing. Instead, he ordered federal prosecutors to file a written response by Dec. 15 to a motion by Stevens objecting to a secret filing concerning the witness, David Anderson.
The defense said the sealed filing by prosecutors appeared to be about an ongoing criminal investigation. The defense asserted the filing was a "blatant violation" of court rules because prosecutors had failed to get authorization from the judge beforehand and didn't provide notice to the defense. The defense motion asks Sullivan to reject the sealed filing -- or provide the defense a copy.
In his order, Sullivan told prosecutors to explain why he should not strike their sealed filing. He pointedly noted that once before, in September, he had reminded the government of the court rules that govern filing sealed pleadings.
Stevens was found guilty Oct. 27 of failing to disclose about $250,000 in gifts and services from 1999 to 2006, mainly from Veco Corp. and its former chief executive, Bill Allen.
Anderson is Allens' estranged nephew and one-time confidant who took on sensitive Veco projects like remodeling Stevens' Girdwood home.
In a letter to the judge two weeks ago, Anderson recanted testimony in which he said he had agreed to help the government without the cover of an immunity deal. In March, he signed a sworn statement that said the government agreed to give immunity to himself and 13 family members and friends in return for his cooperation.