This isn't a tough call: Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan needs to do what Ted Stevens' lawyers have requested and hold an evidentiary hearing on disturbing allegations that have surfaced since the senator was convicted. One prosecution witness, David Anderson, has given contradictory accounts of whether he had an immunity deal with the prosecution. He testified under oath that he did not. He has since prepared an affidavit and written the judge to say he did -- an apparent admission of perjury.
The prosecution contends Anderson is trying to protect another target of the FBI corruption investigation, state Sen. Jerry Ward. He's the father of Anderson's girlfriend.
We also have an FBI whistle-blower charging colleagues involved in the prosecution with numerous improprieties. Among the whistle-blower's complaints:
• An agent accepted things of value from sources, including an original drawing, house-hunting assistance and employment for a third party.
• An agent or agents got too close to sources, including Bill Allen. Their involvement included dinners, lunches, and visits at home and in hotel rooms. When Allen testified at Stevens' trial, the agent wore something that was supposed to be a "surprise present" for Allen.
• An agent repeatedly shared information about corruption cases that the listener did not need to know.
• Someone involved with the prosecution "may have" kept Allen informed about a separate investigation into other crimes he may have committed.
Other complaints offered by the whistle-blower covered familiar ground.
It's already known that the prosecution did not give Stevens' defense all the information it was required to share. From the redacted complaint, it's hard to tell whether the whistle-blower's allegations about evidence sharing are new or ones that have already come out in court.
The whistle-blower also mentioned the well-known incident where prosecutors sent home a witness for medical reasons, without telling the defense or judge, despite the whistle-blower's pleas to notify them.
Those missteps came out during the trial. Judge Sullivan rebuked prosecutors for the violations and imposed unusually strong sanctions as a result.
Sen. Stevens' lawyers say that the whistle-blower's claims confirm that "the government cheated and lied in order to obtain a verdict against Sen. Ted Stevens." Based on what's known now, that's an overstatement. But with charges flying, justice requires Judge Sullivan to haul the relevant parties into court and sort out what happened, and whether it compromised Sen. Stevens' right to a fair trial.
BOTTOM LINE: Some strange and disturbing things have happened in the Stevens case since the senator was convicted.
WHO'S UP / WHO'S DOWN
UP -- Snowzilla: Up he rises in an overnight act of civil disobedience. City Hall contains its inner Grinch, lets 'Zilla stand for Christmas.
UP -- Billy Powers: Snowzilla's creator inspires a wave of support, talk of legal defense fund and an invitation to live in Wasilla. What's next, Letterman?
UP -- Ted Stevens: Soon-to-be former senator has to like his chances on appeal, with all the mess on the prosecution side. Hulk may have his last hurrah in court.
DOWN -- Stevens-connected lobbyists: Without Uncle Ted's K Street clout, graduates of his office have less to peddle. Get a job.
UP -- Rondy mushers: Sprinters break out of Iditarod's long shadow with Rondy renaissance and fortified purse. Somewhere Doc Lombard is smiling.
DOWN -- Holiday travelers: Storms in Seattle and across the country cancel flights and strand fliers. Nothing like bedding down for Christmas at the terminal. Carols, anyone?
DOWN -- Manger thief: Someone lifts life-size baby Jesus figurine from nativity scene at Ketchikan's Clover Pass Community Church. No, Virginia, nothing is sacred.
UP -- Capital movers: Never mind election campaigns and the traveling Legislature; Gov. Sarah is just doing it, a commissioner at a time. Juneau, to the barricades!
DOWN -- ECHL: Economy ices two franchises -- Augusta and Fresno -- in three weeks. Aces still skating strong, but will miss rivalry with Falcons.
UP -- Alaska skiers and snowmobilers: This Christmas is white and deep and that was fresh powder falling Friday. Enjoy.