DOJ Removes Its Stevens Attorneys From Misconduct Probe

Posted February 16, 2009 at 4:34pm

The Justice Department has removed its attorneys from a protracted dispute over allegations of prosecutorial misconduct in the trial of former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

Federal district Judge Emmet Sullivan last week held the Justice Department attorneys in contempt for failing to turn over to the defense materials that the court had ordered the prosecution to provide.

The materials involved the department’s handling of a complaint by FBI agent Chad Joy that accused other members of the Stevens’ investigation and prosecution team of misconduct. Joy alleged that one of the FBI agents had an inappropriate personal relationship with one of the lead witnesses against Stevens.

In a notice filed Sunday, William Welch, chief of the Public Integrity Section, and lead prosecutor Brenda Morris told Sullivan that they would no longer participate in litigation over misconduct matters.

Instead, the heads of the department’s Fraud, Domestic Security and Narcotic and Dangerous Drugs sections have been appointed “to conduct on behalf of the government the litigation related to any claims of misconduct in this matter,” Welch and Morris wrote.

Also excluded from the misconduct proceedings are trial attorneys Nicholas Marsh and Edward Sullivan, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph Bottini and Jamkes Goeke, all of whom had been involved in the prosecution of Stevens.

Stevens was found guilty in October of seven counts of failing to report gifts that he received, in particular more than $100,000 worth of renovations to his home.

His attorneys have accused the prosecution of a long string of misdeeds, from failing to turn over evidence to the defense to attempting to hide witnesses.