(CNN) - In the wake of news the Justice Department had decided to drop the case against Ted Stevens, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Wednesday the former senator had been the victim of a "frightening" attempt to undermine the political process.
"Senator Stevens deserves to be very happy today. What a horrible thing he has endured," she said, in a statement released by her office. "The blatant attempts by adversaries to destroy one's reputation, career and finances are an abuse of our well-guarded process and violate our God-given rights afforded in the Constitution. It is a frightening thing to contemplate what we may be witnessing here - the undermining of the political process through unscrupulous ploys and professional misconduct.
"Senator Stevens and I had lunch together recently at my home and he reiterated the faith he held for vindication; he never gave up hope. It is unfortunate that, as a result of the questionable proceedings which led to Senator Stevens' conviction days before the election, Alaskans lost an esteemed statesman on Capitol Hill. His presence is missed."
The former Republican vice presidential candidate struck a different note in the closing days of the campaign, following Stevens' conviction on corruption charges.
"After being found guilty on seven felony counts, I had hoped Senator Stevens would take the opportunity to do the statesman-like thing and erase the cloud that is covering his Senate seat," she said in a statement in October. "He has not done so. Alaskans are grateful for his decades of public service but the time has come for him to step aside. Even if elected on Tuesday, Senator Stevens should step aside to allow a special election to give Alaskans a real choice of who will serve them in Congress."