Two Justice Department prosecutors involved in the botched investigation of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens have asked a federal appeals court to review a judge’s ruling which upheld a civil contempt finding against them.
A motion was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Friday on behalf of federal prosecutors William Welch II and Brenda Morris, reported Mike Scarcella of the Legal Times.
Judge Emmet Sullivan lifted a civil contempt finding against Patty Stemler, a Criminal Division appellate section supervisor, last month.
Sullivan did not vacate the contempt finding against the three lawyers, but stated that they were no longer in contempt. He said sanctions were not warranted since the government produced the records to Stevens’ lawyers, Legal Times reported. Stemler is not involved in the appeal, her attorney Howard Shapiro, told Legal Times. All three lawyers were first held in civil contempt for allegedly violating court orders back in February 2009.
Morris, Welch and three other prosecutors remain under investigation for criminal contempt for their roles in the Stevens case. A sixth prosecutor who was under investigation committed suicide and felt scapegoated by the Justice Department, friends told TPMmuckraker.
After the Stevens case collapsed in April of 2009 due to alleged prosecutorial misconduct, Morris and Welch were transferred from the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section.