A federal judge on Tuesday lifted a civil contempt finding against a high-level Justice Department official involved in the aftermath of the botched Ted Stevens prosecution, the National Law Journal reported.
The judge’s order also removed the civil contempt finding against DOJ prosecutors William Welch II and Brenda Morris, but they both remain under criminal investigation, reported NLJ’s Mike Scarcella.
Criminal Division appellate section supervisor Patty Stemler had been held in contempt by Judge Emmet Sullivan of Washington federal district court at a February 2009 hearing for allegedly failing to produce certain documents to both the court and to defense attorneys for Stevens, NLJ reported.
Stemler was not one of the prosecutors who are the subject of a criminal investigation for their role in the public corruption prosecution of Stevens.
A sixth prosecutor, Nicholas A. Marsh, took his own life last month, and as TPMMuckraker has reported, friends say he felt “scapegoated” and was disappointed that he was sidelined by DOJ during the course of an investigation into allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, while other lawyers who were also under investigation were able to continue prosecuting cases.
Morris is involved in the public corruption case involving bingo legislation in Alabama, while Welch is working from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Massachusetts.
Stemler, who joined the Stevens case in late 2008, played a “significant and extensive” role in shaping the government’s responses to the court, Sullivan said in his ruling. Sullivan said Stemler had an obligation to comply with the court’s order to produce certain documents related to an FBI agent’s whistleblower complaint that alleges government misconduct.
Via Main Justice, here’s the 26 page court document: