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I'm not a huge Brendan Sullivan fan, but in today's Washington Post he has a poignant Op-Ed on how the miscreant prosecutors who

*botched the prosecution of Sen. Ted Stevens
*were held in contempt for failing to produce exculpatory evidence
*were found by judicially-appointed independent investigator Henry Schuelke's 500-page report to have engaged in "the systematic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence"
*were never really held accountable.

But the Justice Department's own investigation (672-page report buried by strategic release on the eve of Memorial Day weekend) found that some prosecutors engaged in "reckless professional misconduct" (a newly-invented DOJ term) that fell short of the "intentional" misconduct required to report them to the Bar.

Not only did the prosecutors escape punishment (except Ali Marsh, whose suicide was attributed by his wife, in part, to the fact that he was scapegoated by Welch and the other senior attorney), William Welch II was rewarded with the high-profile portfolio of leak cases, where his rogue conduct continued, specifically in the collapsed Espionage Act prosecution of whistleblower Thomas Drake.

On March 15, 2012, Schuelke's long-awaited Stevens report was released in unredacted, unabridged form, after several government prosecutors were unsuccessful in keeping it under seal with the Court.

It is now no surprise why the Department of Justice wanted to keep this report away from the public.

Just a cursory read of the report reveals a devastating pattern of persistent prosecutorial misconduct - and a rogue team led by William Welch, hell bent on destroying the life of a sitting Senator.

Reading this report brought back the nightmare of Thomas Drake's case--also led by William Welch--one of six under the Espionage Act against whistleblowers for allegedly mishandling classified information.

This report details the deliberate and pervasive misconduct by Welch's team in the failed corruption case against the late Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. According to the Stevens report written by Henry Schuelke,

The investigation and prosecution of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens were

permeated by the systematic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence, which would have independently corroborated Senator Stevens' defense and his testimony, and seriously damaged the testimony and credibility of the government’s key witness.
This is precisely what happened in Drake's case, where under the leadership of Welch significant exculpatory evidence was withheld and concealed for many months during the pendancy of his trial. Welch even claimed that key exculpatory whistleblower evidence Drake had provided to the DoD IG as a material witness was supposedly destroyed.

Instead of being a career-killer, Welch returned quietly to Springfield, Massachusetts (where he kept his government job), before his career was magically resurrected by his patron, Lanny Breuer, who handed him the serious portfolio of "leak cases." NSA whistleblwoerTom Drake's collapsed after ("years of hell" in the words of Judge Bennett) and CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling's case is on a similar path. Welch has since left the Justice Departnment, but has left many ruined lives in his wake.

Why do people like William Welch and John Yoo still have their licenses to practice law--and were not even referred to their state bar associations by the Justice Department--while my bar license remains in suspended animation at the D.C. Bar after nearly 10 years because, as a Justice Department ethics attorney, I blew the whistle on government misconduct in the case of so-called "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh, America's first terrorism prosecution after 9/11.

Oh, silly me. I get it. If you cheat and perpetrate illegalities like torture and warrantless wiretapping, you suffer no repercussions, but if you blow the whistle on it, you face prison.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (22+ / 0-)

    My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

    by Jesselyn Radack on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 06:12:47 AM PDT

  •  You must be new here. (5+ / 0-)

    Welcome to America.

    Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

    by jayden on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 06:19:16 AM PDT

  •  Thank you (13+ / 0-)

    I'd always suspected that the Ted Stevens case was deliberately spiked by Bush's DOJ.  Hadn't heard about this report, so I appreciate your bringing it to light.

    Why Eric Holder never engaged in housecleaning in his department, ridding the government of incompetent political hacks minted straight out of Liberty U and the like, has always been mystifying to me as well.  It's been pretty clear that Holder's goals have never been those I would have expected in a post-Bush Democratic DOJ.  Fool me once....  

    If Darrell Issa had managed to hound Holder out of office, it might have been the one good thing he'd ever accomplish in his sorry life.  I'm almost sorry he missed his chance.

    Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. --- Howard Zinn

    by Dallasdoc on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 06:19:36 AM PDT

  •  Prosecutors enjoy "absolute immunity," (5+ / 0-)

    the last remnant of "sovereign immunity" which was otherwise destroyed by the passage of the Federal Tort Claims Act of 1947 and subsequent legislation. The rationale for this immunity rests in the assumption that the position is purely ministerial--i.e. prosecutors are presumed to merely transmit information from the executive to the judiciary and there's little if any personal involvement on their part. And no opportunity for personal material benefit, the criterion which is essential to the definition of crime.  The satisfaction of personal ambition doesn't count because ambition is considered a virtue.  How can you say that prosecutors securing convictions aren't doing a good job?  How can you determine that omissions or misplaced evidence are just mistakes that occur in the normal course of business.
    Congress is responsible for passing legislation.  If prosecutors are to be accountable, Congress has to pass appropriate legislation.  If Congress is reluctant, it's largely because their loss of sovereign immunity still smarts.  That their actions on the floor of the House and Senate are immune from prosecution is not enough.  You'll recall that Jefferson of Louisiana argued that the safe in his office should be exempt from being searched under the immunity he enjoyed as a member of Congress.
    The SCOTUS is aware of the problem and it was discussed in the oral arguments re Pottowattamie v. McGhee

    Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage"

    People to Wall Street, "let our money go."

    by hannah on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 06:48:00 AM PDT

  •  real punishment is needed (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JVolvo, gooderservice, aliasalias, jayden
    The underlying misconduct represents a shameful chapter in the Justice Department’s history. But the department’s failure to punish wrongdoers makes the scandal worse, and the failure makes a mockery of the attorney general’s effort to establish a standard of propriety that the goal of prosecutors is to do justice, not to win at all costs.

    Consider the contrast between all this and the recent Secret Service scandal. Agents on the president’s detail received a quick, harsh punishment for their misconduct; some careers were ended. Yet prosecutors who obtained an illegal verdict by repeatedly violating the Constitution and introducing false evidence avoid meaningful punishment.

    The Justice Department advocates punishment for others in courtrooms across the country every day.

    You would think those tasked with upholding justice understand that real punishment is needed to maintain standards and deter wrongdoing.

    Daniel Ellsberg, “It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam.”

    by allenjo on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 08:16:38 AM PDT

  •  Reckless Justice Really Intentional Injustice (7+ / 0-)

    Welch headed the team (as the Chief of tbe DoJ Office of Public Integrity) that engaged in persistent, wide-ranging, and egregious prosecutorial misconduct on the Senator Ted Stevens case.

    Welch was the Chief Prosecutor in my case.

    Did same with me: doctored evidence, withheld exculpatory evidence, obstructed discovery, mistepresented the truth, presented false testimony and much more that I cannot discuss even today because many of the details are sealed court records.

    In addition, Welch attempted to formally eliminate (via several motions) any relevance or admissibility of my whistleblowing, protected 1st Amendment communications, press reporting on gov't wrongdoing and abuse as well as any evidence related to government classification/overclassification.

    "Truth is treason in the empire of lies." - George Orwell

    by Thomas Drake on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 08:25:35 AM PDT

  •  this was another error in judgement (5+ / 0-)

    By the Obama transition team.

    Every previous President fires all of their DOJ attorneys and replaces them.  The Bush scandal was firing them in mid presidency for not bringing up bogus charges against democrats or bringing up legitimate charges against republicans.

    But, the geniuses in the WHCOS office, Rahm, probably said "we are afraid the republicans will say mean things about this and compare it to what Bush did".

    So the DOJ is still jam packed with "loyal bushies", and this is what we get.

    Call your representative and senators and the white house (lack of capitalization intended) to STOP this crazy warmongering with Iran, please.

    by Indiana Bob on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 08:26:51 AM PDT

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