No Charges for Stevens Prosecutors
By Andrew Ramonas | November 15, 2021 2:02 pm

Two Justice Department lawyers involved in the bungled prosecution of former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) will not face criminal contempt charges, National Public Radio reported Monday.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan last year ordered a probe of DOJ Public Integrity Section officials Brenda K. Morris, William Welch II, and other DOJ prosecutors for errors that led to the dismissal of the corruption case against the late ex-senator. Henry Schuelke III, who led the investigation, will release a report that won’t recommend prosecuting the DOJ lawyers, individuals familiar with the case told NPR.

The DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility has also completed its investigation into mistakes in the case. OPR did not issue misconduct findings against Morris and Welch, the individuals told NPR.

Spokesmen for the DOJ and Schuelke declined comment to NPR.

According to NPR, some of the other prosecutors may face referral to their local bar associations. The report details alleged misconduct by two Alaska Assistant U.S. Attorneys, Joseph Bottini and James Goeke, and FBI agent Mary Beth Kepner.

Lawyers representing Morris and Welch requested last week that a federal appeals court reconsider Sullivan’s civil contempt finding against them.

In February 2009, Sullivan held Morris, Welch and Patty Stemler, chief of the Criminal Division’s Appellate Section, in civil contempt for not handing over documents to Stevens’ defense.

Morris, a supervisor in the Public Integrity Section, was a lead prosecutor in the Stevens case; Welch was chief of the Public Integrity Section at the time. Stemler was not part of the Stevens trial team, but she helped with the post-trial proceedings in the case.


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