Updated 1:25 p.m.
A Justice Department prosecutor who played a lead role in the corruption case against former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has committed suicide.
Nicholas Marsh, who was transferred from the Public Integrity Section amid a criminal investigation of the government’s handling of the case against Stevens, killed himself over the weekend. Marsh had been working in the Office of International Affairs. NPR first reported the suicide this morning.
"Our deepest sympathies go out to Nick's family and friends on this sad day,” Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said in a written statement. “The Department of Justice is a community, and today our community is mourning the loss of this dedicated young attorney."
A former Justice Department attorney, Andrew Lourie, a Kobre & Kim partner who worked with Marsh in the Public Integrity Section, said Marsh (at left) “had a really bright future” with the department.
“I liked him personally and I liked him as a lawyer,” said Lourie, a former Public Integrity Section chief. “I thought he was the kind of guy that we were lucky to have. I thought he was a young, earnest, hard-working guy.”
Marsh, represented by Patton Boggs partner Robert Luskin, was one of a group of prosecutors who were under criminal investigation for the government’s mishandling of the Stevens case.
Luskin called Marsh's death a tragedy, saying that he was confident Marsh would have been exonerated at the conclusion of the investigation. "The whole process imposed an unbelievable burden on Nick," Luskin said.
The Justice Department moved to dismiss Stevens’s conviction in April 2009 after an independent team of prosecutors found the trial lawyers withheld evidence from Stevens’ defense attorneys at Williams & Connolly. A lawyer for Stevens, Robert Cary, could not be reached for comment this morning.
The contempt proceedings also implicate former Public Integrity Section Chief William Welch II; Brenda Morris, a former section supervisor; Alaska-based assistant U.S. attorneys James Goecke and Joseph Bottini; and former Public Integrity trial attorney Edward Sullivan.
Marsh worked closely with Sullivan on the ground in Alaska investigating public corruption there. In 2004, the year Marsh joined Public Integrity, he was dispatched to Alaska. Before taking a job with DOJ, Marsh spent two years in the New York offices of Hale and Dorr.