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Stevens Jury Instructions

          For those interested in the Stevens case, the Anchorage Daily News has posted the jury instructions 

            One issue that the jury instructions deal with is the relevance of public disclosure to the case.  As discussed by Taxpayers for Common Sense, the defense argued that the duty of disclosure to the public is irrelevant because Stevens is charged with violating the False Statements Act, which applies only to false statements made to the government, not to the public.  The prosecution argued that the duty of public disclosure is relevant to the case because one of the purposes of the financial disclosure requirement is to inform the public.

           

            Jury Instruction No. 65 says: “You have heard reference during the trial to a public interest in disclosure.  Senator Stevens is charged with making false statements to the government, not to the public, and public disclosure is not an element of the charges in this case.” 

            My first reaction to this instruction was that appeared that the judge had accepted the defense’s position.  On reflection, I guess it is not so clear.  The defense wanted all references to public disclosure stricken.  This instruction says that public disclosure is not an element of the charges, which is clearly correct, but it doesn’t say that the duty of public disclosure couldn’t be considered for other purposes (like motive or intent).

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