Attorney General Seeks to Pursue Allegations Against Bill Allen
February 5, 2016
(Anchorage, AK) – Alaska Attorney General Craig Richards announced today that, in accordance with an amendment sponsored by U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan, the state will seek authority to prosecute under the Mann Act. The Alaska Attorney General is seeking this authority so the Alaska Department of Law may evaluate whether to file charges against Bill Allen, the government’s main witness in the case against the late Senator Ted Stevens. Allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor were unearthed during the 2008 trial of Senator Stevens, but were never pursued. Two Alaska attorneys general, including Senator Sullivan, tried to pursue an investigation into the allegations, but were rebuffed without sufficient explanation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Due to an amendment that Senator Sullivan sponsored to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in May, the Justice Department is now compelled to allow state prosecutors to pursue federal offenses under the Mann Act. The only way the Justice Department can decline this request is if it would undermine the administration of justice. The Mann Act makes it a felony to bring someone across state lines for prostitution and imposes enhanced penalties when the victim is a minor.
Attorney General Richards has sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, requesting that the state be cross-designated to pursue an investigation and potential prosecution of Bill Allen for alleged Mann Act violations.
“Today I wrote the U.S. Attorney General that I’m not aware of any reason that this request could undermine the administration of justice,” Attorney General Richards said. “In fact, it would do the opposite. Allegations of Mr. Allen’s misconduct remain an open and disturbing issue for our state.”
Senator Sullivan said, “For years, whether in editorials or letters, our state attorneys general, and our senior U.S. Senator have been asking the Department of Justice the same questions: Why did you not prosecute Bill Allen for alleged sexual abuse of children, and why at a minimum did you not grant the state authority to do so when the case surrounding these crimes seemed strong? For seven years, the Department of Justice has brushed off directly answering these questions. That ends today. Because of the new law, the Department of Justice is now required to directly answer these questions to Attorney General Richards.”
When Senator Sullivan served as Alaska’s Attorney General, the state’s Department of Law investigated the allegations against Bill Allen and requested that the Department of Law be cross-designated to bring federal charges against him for allegedly transporting minors across state lines for purposes of sex. The charges had to be filed by the federal government, or the Justice Department had to cross-designate the state to do so. The Justice Department declined without a complete explanation.
Shortly after Senator Sullivan was elected, he asked Attorney General Lynch to provide a detailed explanation on the matter. The reply—received months later—was inadequate.
“If the government made a deal with Bill Allen, it would constitute a scandal of the highest order and those who decided that prosecuting Senator Stevens was a higher priority than seeking justice for abused children should be exposed,” Senator Sullivan said.
Attorney General Richards’ letter also touches on that issue. If the Justice Department refuses to cross-designate the state, “I would ask that the explanation for any denial answer the question of whether the Department’s decision is, in any way, based on a suggestion or assurance (whether expressed or implied) by any federal official to not prosecute Mr. Allen in order to secure his cooperation in the case brought against the Senator,” Attorney General Richards wrote.
Senator Lisa Murkowski has also spent years trying to get answers from the Department of Justice.
“I commend Senator Sullivan and Attorney General Richards for their commitment to hold Bill Allen accountable for his actions. For years I pressed former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to explain why the Department of Justice ignored the recommendations of its rank and file litigating attorneys, failed to prosecute Allen, and at the same time refused to let the state take up the prosecution,” said Senator Murkowski.
“Thanks to Senator Sullivan’s legislation, the state of Alaska can now seek justice in this case. The Justice Department must either let Alaska prosecute Allen or come up with a compelling reason not to.”
In 2008, Senator Stevens went to trial and was found guilty of ethics violations. Less than a year later, after numerous instances of prosecutorial misconduct were disclosed, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan dismissed all charges against Senator Stevens.
"In nearly 25 years on the bench, I have never seen anything approaching the mishandling and misconduct I have seen in this case," Judge Sullivan said.
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