Two Justice Department lawyers involved in the botched prosecution of Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens. requested on Friday that a federal appeals court reconsider a judge’s civil contempt finding against them.
Lawyers representing DOJ Public Integrity Section officials Brenda K. Morris and William Welch II submitted a notice that they will appeal a contempt finding by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan.
In a post-trial status conference in February 2009, Sullivan held Morris, Welch and Patty Stemler, chief of the Criminal Division’s Appellate Section, in civil contempt for failing to turn over documents to Stevens’ defense.
Morris, a supervisor in the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, was a lead prosecutor on the case; Welch was chief of the Public Integrity Section at the time. Although Stemler was not part of the Stevens trial team, she assisted with the post-trial proceedings in the case.
Stemler filed a motion seeking to have her contempt finding vacated. Last month, Sullivan agreed to lift the civil contempt finding against the lawyers as of the date when the documents were handed over — Feb. 13, 2009, the same day the civil contempt finding was issued.
Additional reporting by Andrew Ramonas.