Monday, February 16, 2009

Prosecutors in Ted Stevens Trial Removed from Litigation Involving Alleged Misconduct

Arcadia, California—

Not even my defense of the government’s Ted Stevens trial lawyers yesterday as not running the worst prosecution ever could keep them on the job.

The Department of Justice has announced that it has brought in a new team of lawyers to handle the litigation relating to allegations of government misconduct before and during the Ted Stevens trial.

The shift appears to be aimed at addressing both the disputes with Judge Emmet Sullivan over release of documents that led to contempt citations for prosecutors last week and the conflict of interest that some of those departing prosecutors had in defending their own conduct regarding discovery.

The new team of DoJ lawyers tasked with handling the post-trial litigation is composed of Paul O’Brien, chief of the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section; David Jaffe, deputy chief of the Domestic Security Section; and William Stuckwisch, senior trial attorney in the Fraud Section.

The government attorneys no longer participating in the post-trial litigation include two that were found in contempt of court last week: William Welch, chief of the Public Integrity Section, and Brenda Morris, principal deputy chief of that section. The other four lawyers taken off that post-trial litigation are Public Integrity Section trial attorneys Nicholas Marsh and Edward Sullivan and assistant U.A. attorneys Joseph Bottini and James Goeke.

The same filing announcing the change in counsel also stated that the government was giving documents to the defense regarding FBI agent Chad Joy’s complaint/grievance. The prosecution had previously refused to turn over those documents to the defense on the grounds that they were protected by the attorney work-product doctrine.

Today’s prosecution filing also advised that the government will also give the defense other documents related to Joy’s complaint no later than Tuesday, February 24.

The nuggets in the government’s filing today were first picked up by’s John Bresnahan, a stalwart journalist I would see as a fine reporter even he didn’t sit next to me for much of the five-week Ted Stevens trial last fall.

Two other tips tonight: First, check out the article by Richard Mauer and Lisa Demer in today’s edition of the Anchorage Daily News casting doubt on some of Joy’s allegations. The piece can be found at on your Internet. (I will try to learn how to do these links slicker.)

And finally, those catching the byline on this post should not think that I stayed at my hotel tonight in Arcadia, California merely because it is a three-minute drive from the Santa Anita Park racetrack that a wayward juror ducked out to during the Ted Stevens trial. It was just a coincidence that flows from having a son go to school in southern California.

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