Talk about ironic.
Amid concerns over the integrity of their work, the Justice Department has removed the head of the Public Integrity Section and several other prosecutors from the Ted Stevens trial, according to court filings examined by The Politico.
Late last week, the judge in the case, Emmet Sullivan, ruled that four of the prosecutors, including William Welch, the Public Integrity chief, were in contempt of court for failing to turn over documents as he'd ordered them to do.
The documents at issue relate to allegations by an FBI agent in the case that another agent had an improper relationship with a key government witness, and that the prosecution concealed this from the defense.
Along with Welch, the lead prosecutor on the case, Brenda Morris, as well as several other prosecutors, are being ousted. They're being replaced by Paul O'Brien, chief of the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section, David Jaffe, the deputy chief of the Domestic Security Section, and William Stuckwisch, senior trial attorney in the Fraud Section.
Stevens the Republican former Alaska senator, was convicted last fall of failing to report gifts on his Senate disclosure form. But defense lawyers have appealed, questioning the legitimacy of those proceedings, citing, among other things, the claim of withheld evidence.