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February 2023


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Tag: Emmet Sullivan

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.

Justice Dept. Wants Charges Dropped Against Mexican; Judge Chastises Prosecutors for Failing to Turn Over Evidence Quickly to Defense

The judge in this case, Emmet G. Sullivan, who presided over the Ted Stevens case, has a low tolerance in instances where the prosecution fails to share evidence with the defense — or do it in a timely manner. In this instance, Sullivan once again was not happy with the Justice Department.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan/court photo

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan/court photo

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department asked a federal judge yesterday to toss drug charges against a Chinese-born Mexican millionaire, saying that U.S. prosecutors had run into “evidentiary concerns” and that Mexico would be a better place to try him.

The request concerns Zhenli Ye Gon, who was arrested in July 2007 and was indicted by a federal grand jury in the District on charges of aiding and abetting a conspiracy to make methamphetamine that would be sold in the United States.

The charges came several months after a raid of his Mexico City mansion, where Mexican authorities seized $207 million in cash, most of it in $100 bills. Gon, who fled Mexico before the raid, was arrested by the Drug Enforcement Administration while eating dinner at a bistro in Wheaton with a female acquaintance.

For Full Story

Read Government Motion to Dismiss

Justice Lawyer Held in Contempt in Sen. Stevens Case Says She’s Not to Blame

Judge Emmet Sullivan held lawyers in contempt /court photo
Judge Emmet Sullivan held lawyers in contempt /court photo

By Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON — The fallout from the messy trial of ex-Sen. Ted Stevens won’t be going away any time soon.

The latest: The BLT-The Blog of LegalTimes reports that Patty Stemler, one of the four Justice Dept. attorneys held in contempt for failing to turn documents over to the defense, has filed a motion saying that she had no involvement in the missteps. She wants out of this mess.

Stemler, chief of the Appellate Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, filed the motion Wednesday before D.C. U.S. District Judge James Robertson, BLT reported.

It was U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan who presided over the trial and subsequently found Stemler and three other prosecutors in contempt. Sullivan eventually let one of the prosecutors off the hook after finding he had a minor role in the debacle, BLT reported.

Sullivan also vacated the conviction of Stevens at the request of the Justice Department because of the missteps on the part of prosecutors.

In her Wednesday filing, Stemler said her section helped put together a pleading that accompanied the documents, but it did not play a role in collecting them, BLT reported.

“Ms. Stemler is not aware of any contumacious conduct with regard to these documents,” the motion states. “In any event, she was not part of ‘the team of attorneys responsible for’ the underlying collection, logging, and production of documents.”

Stemler is being represented by Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.

Read Patty Stemler’s Motion to Vacate Contempt