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Dismissing those Stevens charges

From NBC's Pete Williams

The Justice Department has now filed court documents formally asking that the case against Ted Stevens be dismissed.

In these documents, the Justice Department says that it recently discovered another -- and very serious -- failure by prosecutors to turn over to defense lawyers information that could have helped Stevens during the trial. Prosecutors in any criminal case have a legal obligation to make such disclosures.

It turns out, DOJ says, that the prosecutors failed to tell the defense lawyers about an important inconsistency in statements by one of the key witnesses -- the CEO of the Alaska company that did the work on the Stevens house. Had the defense lawyers known about this, the government now says, they could have used this information to cross-examine the witness.

Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement, "After careful review, I have concluded that certain information should have been provided to the defense for use at trial. In light of this conclusion, and in consideration of the totality of the circumstances of this particular case, I have determined that it is in the interest of justice to dismiss the indictment and not proceed with a new trial."