WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department has removed the prosecution team that won the corruption conviction of former Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.
The move comes after U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan found a team of Justice Department lawyers in contempt of court for not turning over documents related to post-trial motions, Politico reported Monday.
The Washington publication reported that the judge has also been frustrated by the Justice Department's unwillingness to turn over documents and other materials related to accusations by whistleblower Chad Joy, an FBI special agent who took part in the Stevens case.
Joy alleges prosecutors concealed evidence that would have helped Stevens' defense team. The Anchorage Daily News reported Monday that sources say Joy's accusations are overblown.
The retired second-in-command agent of the Anchorage FBI office, Robert Burnham, said Joy was inexperienced and uncomfortable with the discretion that agents in the field sometimes need.
Stevens' lawyers said Joy's complaint contains strong evidence that prosecutorial misconduct tainted the investigation. The defesen is seeking a new trial for Stevens, who was defeated in a re-election campaign in November.
Stevens, who had represented Alaska in the U.S. Senate since 1970, was convicted in October of seven counts of failure to disclose gifts and services.