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January 2022


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Tag: Brenda Morris

Ted Stevens Prosecutors Won’t Face Criminal Prosecution, NPR Reports

Sen. Ted Stevens/official photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Senator Ted Stevens is dead and so is one of the prosecutors in the prosecution of  the Stevens case, who committed suicide.

On Monday, the latest twist in a perplexing case surfaced when NPR’s Carrie Johnson  reported that the prosecutors in the bungled 2008 prosecution of the Alaskan senator will not face criminal contempt charges. NPR cited “two sources familiar with the case.”

The case had been a major embarrassment to the Justice Department. After winning a conviction against Stevens just before his re-election bid, Attorney General Eric Holder agreed to have the conviction vacated based on allegations that the government failed to share evidence it should have turned over to the defense. Stevens lost his re-election bid.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who spent many a day scolding the prosecution during trial, had ordered a criminal contempt investigation into their conduct.

NPR reported that Washington attorney Henry F. Schuelke has been interviewing the lawyers and collecting evidence in the case, but is expected to recommend in a report that no government lawyers be referred for criminal prosecution.

NPR said Schuelke and the Justice Department declined to comment when reached Monday by NPR.

Stevens died in an August in an airplane. One of the prosecutors, Nicholas Marsh, 37, committed suicide in September.

Separately, NPR reported that the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility has conducted it’s own probe into the botched case, but won’t make misconduct findings against William Welch, who led the Justice Department’s Public Integrity unit at the time, or his deputy, Brenda Morris, who was on the prosecution team.

NPR reported that Welch and Morris are appealing a civil contempt finding by the judge.

Judge in Ted Stevens Case Drops Civil Contempt Against 3 Justice Lawyers

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan/court photo

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan/court photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The controversial and bungled Ted Stevens case continues to pop up in the news.

The latest: A fed judge in Washington on Tuesday dismissed a civil contempt order against three senior Justice Department lawyers. The judge, Emmet G. Sullivan, found them in contempt for failing to turn over materials in the case, Spencer Hsu of the Washington Post reported.

Sullivan found the issue was a civil matter, not criminal, and that contempt was resolved once the lawyers produced the documents, the Post reported.

The three officials are: Patricia Merkamp Stemler, head of the department’s criminal appellate division, William Welch II, chief of the Justice Department’s public integrity unit and his deputy, Brenda Morris, the Post reorted.

“Ms. Stemler, Mr. Welch, and Ms. Morris are no longer in contempt for their violation of the Court’s January 21, 2009 Order,” Sullivan wrote, according to the Post.

Stevens, a senator at the time, was convicted in 2008 just before his failed re-election bid. But the case was thrown out because of prosecutorial misconduct. Stevens died last August in a plane crash.

The three senior officials still remain under investigation for criminal contempt by a court appointed prosecutor, the Post reported. A report on that matter is due out soon.