Stevens Prosecutors Tucked Away in DOJ Backwater
By Joe Palazzolo | June 16, 2022 1:57 pm

Former Public Integrity Section prosecutors Nicholas Marsh and Edward Sullivan, who are under investigation for their handling of the Ted Stevens case and other Alaska public corruption probes, have  been placed in one of the Justice Department’s lesser-known quarters, the Office of International Affairs (OIA), according to two people familiar with the move.

As The Washington Post first reported here, the prosecutors were given notice of their reassignment on June 4, the same day Justice urged a federal appeals court to release from prison two Alaska legislators convicted of bribery and extortion. In a motion filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, Justice lawyers asked the panel to remand the cases of former Alaska state representatives Victor Kohring and Peter Kott for further proceedings. As in the case of former Alaska Sen. Stevens, the department lawyers told the court they had discovered documents that should have been disclosed to defense counsel prior to trial.

Attorney General Eric Holder has instructed the Criminal Division to review the cases Marsh and Sullivan prosecuted in Alaska. The move dialed up the heat on the two prosecutors, who were already under criminal investigation by a court-appointed counsel and by the department’s Office of Professional Responsiblity for their handling of evdience in the Stevens case.

Also under investigation by the court and OPR are William Welch II, chief of the Public Integrity Section; his deputy chief, Brenda Morris; and Alaska-based assistant U.S. attorneys Joseph Bottini and James Goeke. Bottini and Goeke worked with Marsh and Sullivan in the Alaska cases. Morris joined the team just prior the Stevens case.

The transfer to OIA means Sullivan and Marsh are unlikely to appear in court on behalf of the U.S. any time soon. Here’s the DOJ description of the office’s functions:

The Office of International Affairs provides advice and assistance on international criminal matters to the Attorney General and other senior Department of Justice officials, the Criminal Division and the Department’s other legal divisions, the U.S. Attorneys offices, and state and local prosecutors. OIA coordinates the extradition or other legal rendition of international fugitives and all international evidence gathering. In concert with the State Department, OIA engages in the negotiation of new treaties, conventions, and other agreements on international criminal matters. OIA attorneys also participate on a number of committees established under the auspices of the United Nations and other international organizations that are directed at resolving a variety of international law enforcement problems, such as narcotics trafficking, organized crime, cyber-crime, corruption, terrorism, and money laundering.

It may seem like a fairly soft landing for two prosecutors who are being investigated for serial Brady violations, but it’s not. The Public Integrity Section, while badly bruised by the Alaska mess, is still considered a premier assignment. (Remember: It’s the  section that cultivated Eric Holder.) Marsh and Sullivan, the people familiar with their reassignment said, are too much of a liability for the department right now. Defense lawyers would make sport of accusing them of violating their discovery obligations. It’s unclear exactly what Sullivan and Marsh will be doing at OIA. Justice spokeswoman Laura Sweeney said she could not comment on personnel matters.

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