Nicholas A. Marsh, one of the Justice Department lawyers being investigated for criminal contempt in connection with the botched Sen. Ted Stevens prosecution, has committed suicide, his lawyer confirmed Monday.
“Sadly, it is true. We understand that Nick took his own life,” the lawyer, Robert Luskin, said in a brief email to Main Justice today.
Marsh was 37 years old and lived in Washington, D.C. He was married, but had no children, according to Luskin.
A special investigator appointed by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan was examining whether prosecutors pressured an FBI agent to change notes of an interview with a key witness for the government, Main Justice reported in May.
The special investigator, Washington lawyer Henry Schuelke III, was said to be focusing on two Alaska-based Assistant U.S. Attorneys in that particular matter, James Goeke and Joseph Bottini.
Marsh was a Public Integrity Section prosecutor who worked on the case against Stevens, an Alaska Republican who lost re-election in 2008 after being convicted at trial on corruption charges. Stevens died in August in a plane crash in Alaska.
Sullivan dismissed the charges against Stevens last year and vacated his convictions after an internal DOJ probe discovered potentially exculpatory evidence hadn’t been given to the defense.
Last year, Marsh was transferred from Public Integrity to the DOJ’s Office of International Affairs, where he worked on the attempt to extradite film director Roman Polanski from Switzerland to California to stand trial on decades-old sex charges.
Marsh joined the Public Integrity Section in 2004, according to the Blog of Legal Times. Before his tenure at the DOJ, Marsh worked in New York for Hale and Dorr LLP (now part of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP).
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“It’s a terrible tragedy,” Luskin said in a brief phone interview from Paris. “It’s particularly sad because I am sure that, at the end of the day, he would have been completely exonerated.”
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In a statement, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Lanny Breuer expressed condolences to Marsh’s family.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to Nick’s family and friends on this sad day,” Breuer said. “The Department of Justice is a community, and today our community is mourning the loss of this dedicated young attorney.”
Additional reporting by David Johnston.