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Here's the Justice Department's undated motion to dismiss the case, which lays out the rationale in detail, and was presumably filed yesterday or this morning.

So which of the many well-documented prosecutorial missteps was most important in leading to the Justice Department's decision to drop the case against Ted Stevens?

The initial read, based on DOJ's statement, is that it was prosecutors' withholding of evidence from the defense.

Holder:

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.


We'll have more on the details of this soon.

Both national party chairmen have issued statements predicting victory for their guy in the NY-20 special election, and an affirmation of their party's policies.

Here's last night's statement from DNC chairman Tim Kaine:

"Scott Murphy embraced President Obama's message of change and his plans to fix our economy and create jobs, and as a result he stormed from more than 20 points down to winning a majority of votes cast tonight. Scott's performance tonight in an overwhelmingly Republican district, where Republicans enjoy a registration advantage over Democrats of more than 70,000, represents a repudiation of the failed politics and policies that Republicans continue to embrace. We are confident that when all the ballots are counted, Scott will expand his lead and become an ally to President Obama in Congress who will help the President create jobs and turn our economy around."

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The Justice Department has released a statement on the decision to drop the Ted Stevens case:

STATEMENT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER REGARDING UNITED STATES V. THEODORE F. STEVENS

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A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the ACLU to be decided this week will test the Obama administration's upcoming decision on whether to release more interrogation memos with information about the Bush administration's methods in the War on Terror. Some officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder, have argued that the memos should be released quickly, but former CIA officials oppose the release, saying that could offend active CIA agents. Though President Obama and Holder have both expressed disapproval of the Bush administration's interrogation tactics, they have not yet released documents. But the administration could be pressured to release the documents in response to the ACLU suit. (New York Times)

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Obama And Brown Point To Unity In Economic Crisis During their joint press conference earlier today, President Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown assured the public that the world would not fall into the trap of protectionism that exacerbated the Great Depression: "That is a mistake that we cannot afford to repeat." Brown also pointed to the G-20 summit itself as a sign of consensus among world leaders: "As President Obama has said, never before has the world come together in this way to deal with an economic crisis."

Obama In London For G-20 President Obama is in London for the G-20 summit. At 3:05 a.m. ET he met with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and the two held a press conference at 5:15 a.m. ET. At 6:45 a.m. ET he met with Russian leaders. At 8 a.m. ET he met with British Conservative Party Leader David Cameron. At 9 a.m. ET he is meeting with Chinese leaders, and at 12:35 p.m. ET he will meet with the Queen of England. At 1 p.m. ET he will attend a reception for G-20 leaders, and at 3:30 p.m. ET they will hold a working dinner.

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NPR:

The Justice Department will drop all charges against former Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, NPR has learned.


It added that Attorney General Eric Holder decided the conviction could not be defended thanks to problems with the prosecution.

The news of the case being dropped has now been confirmed independently by the AP and CNN.

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NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions just put out a statement looking forward optimistically in NY-20 and playing the spin game, boasting that their man Jim Tedisco has closed the gap in a tough, Democratic-held district:

"As the latest vote totals reflect, there still remain thousands of absentee and military ballots that have to be counted. Rest assured that Republicans will ensure that the integrity of the election is protected and every vote is counted. As it stands now, there is a Republican advantage in the number of absentee and military ballots that have been returned.

"With that being said, Jim Tedisco has closed the gap in a district that has come to exemplify Democratic dominance in the Northeast in recent elections. That is a testament to the strength of Jim's campaign and the effectiveness of the Republican message of fiscal responsibility and accountability that Americans are demanding in the wake of the AIG scandal.

"Less than 150 days ago, President Obama carried New York's 20th District, and former Congresswoman Gillibrand was handily reelected in this district by a margin of 62-38 percent, despite the fact that her Republican opponent spent $6 million trying to defeat her. For the first time in a long time, a Republican candidate went toe-to-toe with a Democrat in a hard-fought battle over independent voters. This was hardly a common phenomenon in 2008, particularly in the Northeast."


The claim that more Republicans have turned in absentee ballots could very well be true -- but it's not quite complete, either. The unaffiliated voters in this district have leaned heavily Democratic in recent elections -- thus the Dem wins in a district where the GOP has a big registration advantage on paper. And if that pattern continues, it won't be good news for them.

As for Tedisco closing the gap, it needs to be remembered that he led in all the polls against his lesser-known opponent, until very late in the race.

But it really is too early to know how this will all turn out.

DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen has put out this statement regarding tonight's deadlocked special election for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's former House seat -- predicting that Murphy will only expand his lead as the absentee ballots are counted, and pretty much declaring victory:

"From 21 points down to securing a majority of the vote tonight, congratulations to Scott Murphy who ran an extraordinary campaign focused on his record as a successful businessman who helped to create jobs and his strong support for President Obama's economic recovery act. As votes continue to be counted, we're confident that Scott Murphy will expand his lead.

"Scott Murphy's strong showing in this district where Republicans outnumber Democrats by more than 70,000 represents a rejection of the obstructionist agenda and scare tactics that have become the hallmark of House Republicans."


At this point, the race really comes down to which party had the better absentee ballot operation. Van Hollen is voicing a confident tone here.

Frequent readers of this site might recognize the next steps in New York's 20th Congressional District, where tonight's special election for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's old House seat has left Democratic candidate Scott Murphy leading Republican Jim Tedisco by 65 votes with 100% of precincts in: Courtroom proceedings, as the lawyers sort their way through absentee ballots.

The key issues here is that the Republican Party filed a legal complaint today to contest the election results, before the polls even closed -- which is not actually unheard of in New York, I've been told by state board of elections spokesman Bob Brehm.

Ballots have already been impounded tonight, for safekeeping. A hearing has been scheduled for this coming Monday, at which the candidates and the government will hammer out the procedures for counting, challenging and resolving ballots -- and you can bet the absentees will play a major part in this.

"There are statutory processes for canvassing and re-canvassing," Brehm explained, "and basically they're on hold until the court can set up a calendar that is mutually agreeable."

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