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Tables Turn on Stevens Prosecutors

POSTED: 05:10 PM ET, 04/ 7/2009 by Amanda Zamora

The U.S. attorneys who handled the government's corruption case against former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens are facing contempt proceedings for alleged misconduct.

U.S. District Judge Emmett G. Sullivan's decision to throw out the Stevens conviction comes less than a week after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that a Justice Department review of the case found that prosecutors withheld information from Stevens' defense team. Last week, Holder pledged an internal review of the case, but Sullivan has taken the unusual step of appointing an outside attorney to conduct an independent investigation.

"In nearly 25 years on the bench, I have never seen anything approaching the mishandling and misconduct that I have seen in this case," Sullivan said. "Again and again, both before and during the trial in this case, the government was caught making false representations and not meeting its discovery obligations."

According to The Post's Del Quentin Wilber, Henry F. Schuelke III will probe the U.S. attorneys' handling of the case and issue a recommendation on whether they should be held in contempt. The attorneys -- William Welch II, Brenda Morris, Joseph Bottini, Nicholas Marsh, Edward Sullivan and James Goeke -- could face a fine or jail time if found in contempt.

In February, Sullivan held Welch, Morris and Patricia Stemler in contempt after the Justice Department lawyers admitted not having any reason to withhold documents from the defense.

"That was a court order," Sullivan said. "That wasn't a request. I didn't ask for them out of the kindness of your hearts. . . . Isn't the Department of Justice taking court orders seriously these days?"

Sullivan also said today that he will be referring a complaint of alleged misconduct by Robert Bundy, the Anchorage attorney who represented the government's star witness, to the U.S. attorney's office, according to a report by the Anchorage Daily News.

Stevens was the longest-serving Republican in the Senate before losing his seat to Democrat Mark Begich, just days after an Alaska jury found him guilty of failing to disclose $250,000 in gifts.

A jubilant Stevens emerged from Sullivan's courtroom this morning and referenced Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.) when asked for his reaction to the news: "If I were Senator Byrd, I'd say 'Hallelujah!'"

By Amanda Zamora |  April 7, 2009; 5:10 PM ET Stevens Trial
Previous: Online Poker Settlement Could Shake Industry | Next: The Stevens Six; Jackson Faces Ethics Probe; Housing Agencies Under Scrutiny

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Hard to believe Republicans did in a brother Republican. Maybe they got confused & thought that old coot was a Democrat .... lmao

Posted by: gatorsn09 | April 7, 2009 5:48 PM

We owe this judge a lot. We need way more of this type thing in the U.S . There is way to many people in control that think they are above the law from cops to the top. They are no better than bank robbers. We should have top gov in on this. To hell with all this over sea's stuff for a while. Thanks judge! m

Posted by: m-walters | April 7, 2009 6:07 PM

Gee, Gator, what makes you think they were Republicans? The only people who believe Democrats can do no wrong are... well... Democrats.

Of course, now that this Senate seat is lost to The Dems, damage is done that cannot be repaired. Blago's stolen seat is still occupied by Burris, too. And we're still waiting to hear about Stuart Smalley.

Posted by: MaggieLeber | April 7, 2009 6:27 PM


Alaska should have had a republican senator.

That aside, I applaud the investigation that showed misconduct by the prosecution.

It concerns me that a defendant of less stature would not have had anyone looking into this. I fear prosecutors at every level of government have way too much unscrutinized power--they make the deals behind closed doors and present what they please to grand juries. I am afraid I do not trust them much.

Posted by: maryphyl | April 7, 2009 7:47 PM

gatorsn09: You ought to look a little closer, one of the prosecutors is (was) being pushed by Kennedy for a top job in Mass, another donated to the Obama campaign. I guess we will see if your amateur President meant anything about "change". So far it has been shown to be a sleight of hand and "blame the other guy".

Posted by: Ethicist | April 7, 2009 8:26 PM

Doing this from the Bush White House to a Republican is hard to believe. But then, maybe we need to know how many of them come from that great institution of law schools....Regents College? If so, were they appointed because they were more qualified than say Harvard or Stanford law school candidates? Or maybe just more incompentent Bush goons with an agenda.

Posted by: sd-mouth | April 7, 2009 9:00 PM

This WAS Bush DOJ that did this to a fellow republican and this overturn in NO way makes Ted innocent.......come on....7 convictions.

Posted by: Alasknfirst | April 8, 2009 12:54 AM

I suspect that these are the kind of US attorneys that the Bush administration wanted to fire.

Eric Holder is an incompetent political hack. (Remember he is the one who sucked up to the Clinton administration on pardons etc. etc.) He won't get to the bottom of anything. I applaud the judge for forcing the issue.

Posted by: georgegjones | April 8, 2009 10:52 AM

Donein by brother Republicans? Uh, I don't think so. The Department of Justice is filled with careerists, a whole bunch of whom were extremely hostile to President Bush. The notion that Stevens was done in by "Brother Republicans" is probably total nonsense.

Posted by: Bob65 | April 8, 2009 7:57 PM

"Or maybe just more incompentent Bush goons with an agenda."

Morris and Welch are Democrat goons, pay attention.

".......come on....7 convictions."

On tainted evidence and a witness whose credibilty was in question from day 1 and they withheld evidence damaging to their case. Didn't a prosecuter once brag he could convict a ham sandwich?


Posted by: gitarfan | April 9, 2009 1:21 PM

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