Henry Schuelke, the Washington lawyer tapped to investigate the Justice Department prosecution team in the Ted Stevens case for possible criminal contempt, was granted authority this evening to issue subpoenas for documents and deposition testimony.
Schuelke's two-page request--click here for a copy--asked for permission to take "deposition testimony under oath and, if necessary, to issue subpoenas to compel" the lawyers under investigation to provide, among other things, documents and data. A federal judge immediately granted the request.
The lawyers under investigation are the DOJ Public Integrity Section chief, William Welch II; the principal deputy chief, Brenda Morris; Public Integrity trial attorneys Nicholas Marsh and Edward Sullivan; and assistant U.S. attorneys Joseph Bottini and James Goeke.
In his request, Schuelke, a partner at Janis, Schuelke & Wechsler, said he might need to compel information from three other people: FBI Agent Mary Beth Kepner, a lead agent in the Stevens investigation; Bill Allen, the government’s chief witness; and Allen’s lawyer, Robert Bundy, of counsel in the Anchorage office of Dorsey & Whitney. An FBI agent in the Stevens case who filed a whistleblower complaint alleged that Kepner had inappropriate contact with Allen during the trial.
A jury found then-Sen. Stevens guilty in October last year on seven counts of filing false Senate financial disclosure forms that concealed more than $250,000 in gifts and home improvements. His lawyers from Williams & Connolly filed court papers challenging the verdict on evidentiary grounds and on the basis of prosecution misconduct.
The Justice Department in April moved to vacate the guilty verdict against Stevens, saying that prosecutors failed to turn over exculpatory material to Stevens’ lawyers.
At that time, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia tapped Schuelke to investigate and possibly prosecute the Justice trial team for criminal contempt for violating court orders to turn over exculpatory material. Sullivan signed an order this evening granting Schuelke’s request for subpoena power.