DOJ Pulls Prosecutors Off Stevens Case

Judge finds lawyers in contempt for withholding documents
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2009 8:46 AM CST
Prosecutors Brenda Morris, center and Joseph Bottini, right, walk out of the Federal Court in Washington after Sen. Ted Stevens was convicted on seven corruption charges, Oct. 27, 2008.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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(Newser) – The Justice Department has yanked the team that prosecuted Ted Stevens off any future action in the case, Politico reports, after the judge found four of the lawyers—including chief prosecutor Brenda Morris—in contempt. Morris and company raised the judge’s ire by withholding documents related to FBI agent Chad Joy’s accusations that the prosecution concealed evidence that would have helped the defense.

Joy also contends that a fellow FBI agent had an inappropriate relationship with the government’s top witness. In an effort to smooth things over with the judge, the DOJ will hand some of the paperwork related to those allegations over to the defense, including an evaluation of Joy’s request for whistleblower status. The judge will decide in April whether to allow the defense to question FBI agents and DOJ officials.