Thursday, June 25, 2009

Catch-Up II


1. In a further sign of the turmoil that rolled over the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section following the post-trial meltdown of the Ted Stevens case, William Welch has been taken off his duties as supervisor of another case arising out of investigation of Congressional corruption. The Associated Press reported last week that Welch is no longer overseeing the prosecution of former lobbyist Kevin Ring, a former associate of jailed uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Now one of the subjects of two investigations into prosecutorial misconduct in the Ted Stevens case, Welch is apparently still at least nominally the chief of the Public Integrity Section despite the reported shifts in his work assignments flagged by the Washington Post and noted in this blog yesterday.

2. Additional fall-out from the prosecutors’ problems in the Alaska public corruption cases showed up in District Judge John Sedwick’s order addressing former State Rep. Pete Kott’s request that the public pay for his attorney in the unusual post-trial review of his conviction. Judge Sedwick said that while it was a close question as to whether Kott’s financial situation made him eligible for court-appointed and taxpayer-funded counsel, the federal prosecutors’ unusual screw-up in this case tipped the balance. “[T]he expansion of this case arising from the United States’ admitted, and remarkable, failure to timely provide all of the discovery required…stretches Mr. Kott’s modest means too far.” For a judge in mid-litigation to call one party’s past action “remarkable” is itself fairly remarkable. (Hat tip: Anchorage Daily News.)

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