Contempt Findings Against Stevens’ Prosecutors Lifted

Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC

The prosecutors in the case of the late Senator Ted Stevens have had a contempt finding against them lifted.  U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan blasted three government attorneys back in February of 2009 for missing a deadline to turn over documents to Stevens’ lawyers.  He held them in contempt, but one of the attorneys, Patty Merkamp Stempler, filed a motion to vacate his decision.  The Judge denied that on Tuesday, but he did dismiss the issue.  That’s because the prosecutors did eventually turn over the information to Stevens’ lawyers.

The civil contempt finding that was on the books for the past year is separate from a criminal investigation going on into the conduct of the Stevens case prosecutors.

Stevens was convicted two years ago of failing to disclose gifts on Senate financial forms, but six months later the judge threw out his conviction, because prosecutors hadn’t turned over important information to Stevens lawyers that could’ve helped them in their defense.  Judge Sullivan ordered a criminal investigation into what went wrong, the results of which are pending.

Ted Stevens died in a plane crash in southwest Alaska in August, nearly two years after losing a tight Senate re-election bid that came on the heels of his initial conviction.

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