The Justice Department filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The two-page filing says in part, "... the Government moves to set aside the verdict and dismiss the indictment with prejudice."
Stevens released a brief statement early Wednesday morning:
"I am grateful that the new team of responsible prosecutors at the Department of Justice has acknowledged that I did not receive a fair trial and has dismissed all the charges against me," he said. "I am also grateful that Judge Emmet G. Sullivan made rulings that facilitated the exposure of the government's misconduct during the last two years. I always knew that there would be a day when the cloud that surrounded me would be removed. That day has finally come.
"It is unfortunate that an election was affected by proceedings now recognized as unfair. It was my great honor to serve the State of Alaska in the United States Senate for 40 years."
Defense attorneys Brendan Sullivan and Robert Cary issued a joint statement saying the decision to drop the case "... is justified by the extraordinary evidence of government corruption in the prosecution of Senator Stevens."
"The government violated the Constitution of the United States, the criminal rules and applicable case law in order to obtain this unlawful verdict," Sullivan said at a later press conference. "He was the target of prosecutors who wanted to enhance their own reputation."
The motion to dismiss acknowledges a newly discovered misstep on behalf of prosecutors. The Justice Department interviewed its star witness -- former VECO CEO Bill Allen, at one time a close friend of Stevens -- in April of last year, and agent notes indicate a discrepancy between what Allen said then and what he testified to in court during the trial.
But those notes were not given to Stevens' lawyers until last week, and the government says, "This information could have been used by the defendant to cross-examine Bill Allen and in arguments to the jury."
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who appealed to outgoing President George W. Bush to pardon Stevens -- he declined -- issued the following statement in the wake of the news that the case would likely be dismissed.
"I was pleased with the news that the Justice Department will drop all charges against Senator Ted Stevens, but I am deeply disturbed that the government can ruin a man's career and then say never mind,'" Murkowski said. "There is nothing that will ever compensate for the loss of his reputation or leadership to the State of Alaska."
"Our nation is governed by the rule of law, and violations of our civil liberties cannot be tolerated. Prosecutors and law enforcement have the power to bring the full weight of the government to bear on individuals. If they are willing to bend the law, they put all of our civil liberties at risk."
Sen. Mark Begich, who defeated Stevens in the November general election, also released a statement:
"... the decision by President Obama's Justice Department to end the prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens is reasonable. I always said I didn't think Senator Stevens should serve time in jail and hopefully this decision ensures that is the case. It's time for Senator Stevens, his family and Alaskans to move on and put this behind us."
Stevens and his attorneys alleged prosecutorial misconduct throughout the trial and in the intervening months, filing several motions to dismiss with the court.
Sullivan denied each one, but on more than one occasion expressed frustration and even anger with Justice Department lawyers for repeated irregularities in providing Stevens' team will all the relevant evidence.
Now the actions of lead prosecutor Brenda Morris, prosecutor Joe Bottini, and lead FBI investigator Mary Beth Kepner are the subject of an internal Justice Department probe.
National Public Radio reports that Stevens' advanced age -- he turned 85 in November -- and the fact he is no longer in the Senate contributed as reasons for dropping the case.