Stevens' prosecutors held in contempt

Feb. 13, 2009 at 7:30 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Four Justice Department lawyers were held in contempt Friday for failing to turn over documents in the corruption case of former Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan held in contempt: William Welch II, chief of the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section; Brenda Morris, principal deputy chief of the section and lead prosecutor in the case; trial attorney Kevin Driscoll; and Patricia Stemler, chief of the Criminal Division's Appellate Section.

The Legal Times reported that the Justice Department lawyers failed to turn over 33 documents related to post-trial discovery motions. The Times reported that after Driscoll failed to satisfy the judge with an answer as to why the documents weren't turned over to defense attorneys, the judge said he was holding the federal prosecutors in contempt.

"Is the Department of Justice taking court orders seriously these days?" the judge asked.

The judge said he would not issue sanctions against the Justice Department lawyers until the conclusion of the case.

Stevens, who is awaiting sentencing, was convicted on charges of failing to disclose goods and services he received from Alaska oil-services executive Bill Allen and others. He subsequently lost his bid for re-election in November.

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