Stevens case prosecutor leaving Justice Department

Apr 16, 2012, 5:13 PM

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – The prosecutor who headed the Justice Department unit that bungled the corruption case against Sen. Ted Stevens is leaving the government.

In court papers filed Monday in a case in Virginia, the department says William Welch is departing for a job in the private sector.

Recently, Welch has overseen efforts to crack down on officials who leak government secrets. He stepped down as chief of the public integrity section in 2009 amid the controversy over the botched Stevens prosecution. A court-ordered investigation of that case concluded that prosecutors failed to turn over to Stevens’ lawyers some information they had that was favorable to the defense.

Following Stevens’ conviction in 2008, an FBI agent _ a government whistleblower _ alleged prosecutors had withheld evidence that undercut the testimony of the government’s key witness against the senator. The judge dismissed the conviction at the request of Attorney General Eric Holder.

A month ago, a special counsel who looked into the Justice Department’s mishandling of the Stevens prosecution found that Welch directly supervised the conduct of the case only when matters were brought to his attention after controversies arose.

The court-appointed special counsel, Henry Schuelke, said that to Welch’s credit, on those occasions he directed that disclosure be made to Stevens’ lawyers.

A separate investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility concluded Welch did not commit professional misconduct or exercise poor judgment in the Stevens case. That conclusion was contained in a letter by OPR to Welch’s lawyer, who included it in a response to the Schuelke report.

A jury convicted Stevens of seven felony counts of lying on Senate financial disclosure documents to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars in home renovations and gifts from wealthy friends, including a massage chair, a stained-glass window and an expensive sculpture. A few days later, Stevens lost re-election to the seat he’d held for 40 years, making him the longest-serving Republican in the Senate at the time. Stevens died in a plane crash on August 9, 2010.

More recently, Welch led the prosecution of Thomas Drake, a former senior National Security Agency official who faced 35 years in prison for disclosing government waste and mismanagement for a reporter. The case crumbled last year. A federal judge lambasted the government’s handling of the case and sentenced Drake to community service and probation for one misdemeanor.

Welch also was overseeing the pending prosecution of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who is accused of disclosing information about a botched intelligence operation in Iran to Pulitzer-winning New York Times journalist and author James Risen. The Justice Department notified a federal appeals court in Richmond that Welch was withdrawing to take an undisclosed job in the private sector.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

In this photo provided by the Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division, Philippine President ...
Associated Press

US lawmakers meet detained Philippine opposition leader

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, who was once banned from the Philippines by former President Rodrigo Duterte, on Friday met a long-detained Filipino opposition leader, whom he says was wrongfully imprisoned under Duterte and should be freed. Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and a group of U.S. legislators met former Sen. Leila […]
4 hours ago
FILE - President Joe Biden speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House, Aug. 10, 202...
Associated Press

Biden to host unity summit against hate-fueled violence

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — President Joe Biden will host a White House summit next month aimed at combating a spate of hate-fueled violence in the U.S., as he works to deliver on his campaign pledge to “heal the soul of the nation.” The White House announced Friday that Biden will host the United We Stand […]
4 hours ago
Malaysia's former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaks during an interview with The Associated Pr...
Associated Press

Mahathir expects early polls, ruling party gains in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad expects Malaysia’s graft-tainted ruling party will hold general elections in coming months — and could win big — but the nonagenarian reformer vowed Friday that he would fight “even a losing battle” on principle. In an wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, Mahathir described President […]
4 hours ago
A person wearing a protective mask walks in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikk...
Associated Press

Global markets lower after Wall Street gains on jobs data

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets and Wall Street futures fell Friday after unexpectedly good U.S. jobs data left room for more interest rate hikes to cool inflation. London, Shanghai, Tokyo and Frankfurt declined. Oil prices edged lower but stayed above $90 per barrel. Fewer Americans than expected filed unemployment claims last week, the Labor […]
1 day ago
Mosquito Joe lead technician Damien Ysasi sprays a mixture of essential oil insecticides in a yard ...
Associated Press

Backyard mosquito spraying booms, but may be too deadly

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — It’s an increasingly familiar sight in U.S. cities and suburbs: A van pulls up to the curb. Workers wearing gloves, masks and other protective gear strap on backpack-type mechanisms with plastic hoses, similar to leaf blowers. Revving up the motors, they drench trees, bushes and even house walls with pesticides […]
1 day ago
New home construction encroaches dormant fields owned by Kelly Anderson, left, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2...
Associated Press

Crisis looms without big cuts to over-tapped Colorado River

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Hydroelectric turbines may stop turning. Las Vegas and Phoenix may be forced to restrict water usage or growth. Farmers might cease growing some crops, leaving fields of lettuce and melons to turn to dust. Those are a few of the dire consequences that could result if states, cities and farms […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Stevens case prosecutor leaving Justice Department