WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- A judge in Washington has dropped civil contempt proceedings against three Justice Department lawyers involved in the case against U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan's action on Tuesday does not affect a criminal investigation into six prosecutors, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Sullivan named a former military judge as a special prosecutor to determine if they committed criminal contempt.
Stevens, an Alaska Republican, lost his seat shortly after he was convicted in 2008 of failing to report gifts from business executives. The verdict was set aside in 2009 after an FBI agent said prosecutors conspired to withhold exculpatory evidence. Stevens was killed in a plane crash in Alaska in August.
Two of the lawyers involved in the criminal investigation were also cited for civil contempt. A third, Patty Merkamp Stemler, head of the appellate division in the Justice Department, only became involved with the case after the trial was over.
One of the six prosecutors took his own life.