Judge slams government tactics in Stevens case

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Alaska Senator Ted Stevens' corruption trial has resumed with prosecutors getting an angry scolding from the judge.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan rebuked the Justice Department for mishandling a witness against Stevens.

He stopped short of declaring a mistrial or dismissing the charges. But he said he was "peeved" that prosecutors quietly sent a key witness back to Alaska, raising suspicions that they were trying to hide information that could help Stevens.

Stevens is charged with lying on Senate financial disclosure forms about more than $250,000 in free home renovations and other gifts he received from a powerful Alaska oil pipeline contractor.

The judge didn't immediately say how he'd remedy the witness dispute.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, are planning a parade of witnesses, including former Stevens staffers, a former Federal Election Commission official, and employees from the contractor in question.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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