Justice Dept. probe of late Alaska Sen. Stevens prosecutors almost complete

The Anchorage Daily NewsNovember 9, 2011 

The Justice Department is almost finished with its investigation into misconduct by prosecutors in the 2008 prosecution of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.

The inquiry by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility is in its "last stages," Attorney General Eric Holder told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. "There is a multi-hundred page report that is just about finalized," he said.

Holder delivered the news as he was being grilled during a Justice Department oversight hearing by senators from both parties who were upset about the Stevens case and wanted to know what the repercussions for prosecutors would be.

"There should have been some real serious corrections done because of what they did to a great U.S. Senator. ... I've never seen a greater injustice to a member of Congress," Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch told the attorney general.

The senators urged Holder to make public the upcoming report on prosecutorial misconduct in the case. Holder said it will be up to the Office of Professional Responsibility, but that he's inclined to make the details public.

"What I have indicated was that I want to share as much of that as we possibly can given the very public nature of that matter and the very public decision that I made to dismiss the case," Holder said.

Six Justice Department lawyers have been under investigation for their handling of Stevens' trial, which was part of a wider probe into corruption in Alaska politics. One of those lawyers, Nicholas Marsh, committed suicide last year.

A jury in Washington, D.C., found Stevens guilty in October 2008 of lying on financial disclosure forms covering six years in office.

But in 2009 the Justice Department moved to dismiss the charges against Stevens, admitting it failed to turn over evidence to the defense that would have helped Stevens. The prosecution team also faced misconduct allegations from an FBI whistleblower.

Stevens lost his re-election bid just days after the jury handed down the guilty verdict. He died in a plane crash north of Dillingham on Aug. 9, 2010.

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