March 16, 2012 in Nation/World

In brief: Stevens’ prosecutors slammed in report

From Wire Reports

Washington – A team of government lawyers prosecuting Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska never fully reviewed evidence that could have bolstered his defense, was inadequately supervised and withheld information that would have “seriously damaged the testimony and credibility of the government’s key witness,” a special counsel said in a report released Thursday.

But Washington lawyer Henry Schuelke stopped short of urging criminal misconduct charges against the prosecutors because, he said, the judge in the case never “specifically” ordered prosecutors to turn over material helpful to the defense.

Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator in the nation’s history, died in an airplane crash in 2010, at age 86. He had been convicted in October 2008 of failing to report gifts, a verdict that helped cost him his re-election. The conviction was voided within months at Attorney General Eric Holder’s request after he learned that prosecutors had failed to turn over exculpatory evidence.

CDC ad campaign seeks to shock smokers

Atlanta – In a graphic new ad campaign announced Thursday, the government is trying to shock smokers into quitting with the sometimes-gruesome stories of people damaged by tobacco products.

The new effort confronts a hard truth: Despite increased tobacco taxes and bans in many public places, the adult smoking rate hasn’t really budged since 2003.

The billboards and print, radio and TV ads show people whose smoking resulted in heart surgery, a tracheotomy, lost limbs or paralysis. The $54 million campaign is the largest and starkest anti-smoking push by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its first national advertising effort.

The agency is hoping the spots, which begin Monday and will air for at least 12 weeks, will persuade as many as 50,000 Americans to stop smoking.

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