Two Justice Department lawyers involved in the bungled prosecution of former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) on Wednesday urged an appeals court to vacate a contempt finding against them, The Blog of Legal Times reported.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan of D.C. held former Public Integrity Section officials William Welch II and Brenda K. Morris in contempt for not handing over documents to Stevens’ defense. Sullivan in October removed them from under contempt. But he didn’t vacate his contempt finding.
“It is no solace to Ms. Morris and Mr. Welch that the court did not follow through with its stated intent to impose further sanctions or that it later characterized the contempt as civil, for they remain adjudicated contemnors,” lawyers for Morris and Welch wrote in a filing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, according to The BLT. “Without review by this court, the personal and professional records of Ms. Morris and Mr. Welch will forever include a conviction of criminal contempt.”
A preliminary draft of an Office of Professional Responsibility report last year on the allegations that prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence from the Stevens defense cleared Welch and Morris.