Why Is William Welch, Whose Team Is Accused of Intentional Prosecutorial Misconduct, Still at DOJ?

As Nedra Pickler first reported, Judge Emmett Sullivan has submitted a scathing order describing the results of an investigation into the Ted Stevens prosecution.

Based on their exhaustive investigation, Mr. Schuelke and Mr. Shields concluded that the investigation and prosecution of Senator Stevens were “permeated by the systematic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence which would have independently corroborated his defense and his testimony, and seriously damaged the testimony and credibility of the government’s key witness.”

[snip]

Mr. Schuelke and Mr. Shields found that at least some of the concealment was willful and intentional, and related to many of the issues raised by the defense during the course of the Stevens trial. Further, Mr. Schuelke and Mr. Shields found evidence of concealment and serious misconduct that was previously unknown and almost certainly would never have been revealed – at least to the Court and to the public – but for their exhaustive investigation.

Sullivan’s investigator, Henry Schuelke, found the lawyers involved could not be charged with criminal contempt because they had not been explicitly ordered to follow the law.

Mr. Schuelke bases his conclusion not to recommend contempt proceedings on the requirement that, in order to prove criminal contempt beyond a reasonable doubt under 18 U.S.C. § 401(3), the contemnor must disobey an order that is sufficiently “clear and unequivocal at the time it is issued.” See, e.g., Traub v. United States, 232 F.2d 43, 47 (D.C. Cir. 1955). Upon review of the docket and proceedings in the Stevens case, Mr. Schuelke concludes no such Order existed in this case.

But he did hint that at least some of the six attorneys might be charged with Obstruction of Justice (which DOJ would have to do).

Mr. Schuelke “offer[s] no opinion as to whether a prosecution for Obstruction of Justice under 18 U.S.C. § 1503 might lie against one or more of the subject attorneys and might meet the standard enunciated in 9-27.220 of the Principles of Federal Prosecution.”

One of the attorneys investigated here, of course, is William Welch (the others are Brenda Morris, Edward Sullivan, Joseph Bottini, and James Goeke, as well as Nicholas Marsh, who committed suicide last year), who has overseen the Jeffrey Sterling and Thomas Drake cases.

Now, Sullivan made it clear that at least some of the lawyers involved might be well served for Schuelke’s report to be made public.

in fact, under these circumstances, some or all of the subjects may be prejudiced by withholding the results of Mr. Schuelke’s Report from the public;

So we can’t be sure whether Welch was directly implicated in the misconduct, or whether just those lawyers who reported to him were.

But Welch’s prosecutions since have been beset by the same kind of prosecutorial problems as the Stevens one. For example, in the Drake case, the government didn’t tell the defense that one of the documents they charged Drake with leaking was unclassified until 10 months after the indictment. Then, when they tried to apply CIPA to unclassified documents, they did so after the opportunity to object had passed. The judge in that case, Richard Bennett, called the prosecution “unconscionable.”

And in the Sterling case, it appears that Welch postponed telling Sterling that one of the key witnesses against him had herself leaked classified information until after the opportunity for discovery on that leak had passed–the same kind of derogatory information on a key witness the Stevens prosecutors withheld.

In other words, we can not be sure that Welch committed the misconduct at the heart of the Stevens case. But his ongoing cases do seem to be subject to the same kind of misconduct.

So why is he still at DOJ, prosecuting cases, when an independent investigator has determined this his past prosecution teams didn’t follow the law because they had not been specifically ordered to, and such behavior might amount to Obstruction of Justice?

Updated: Added Bennett’s comments.

Tweet about this on Twitter2Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+1Email to someone

26 Responses to Why Is William Welch, Whose Team Is Accused of Intentional Prosecutorial Misconduct, Still at DOJ?

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @cocktailhag @emptywheel We have a tunnel gap!
7mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Why won't Wolf Blitzer come to my terror tunnel?
9mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @mattmdiaz: "@thedailybeast: Israel has shrunk #Gaza by 40% in three weeks with its "buffer zone" http://t.co/WaVmFfP58k http://t.co/fqr
10mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @AZ_Dream_Killer: RT @sn_ncaab Calipari reportedly racked up more than $200K worth of private recruiting flights last year. http://t.co/
12mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @adambonin That would be the Shelly Sterling Case, right??
16mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @emptywheel Had to be. Also, the Tapper big segment today "Exporting Death!" https://t.co/2319TZxJcy
24mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @bmaz Oh, I knew he had gone. But it must have been during the "cease fire," right? And they haven't admitted that.
27mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @joshgerstein Yep, think so. Title suggests hoaxes and language broad enough to cover.
30mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @bmaz Did they confirm that? @CNN
31mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @gatorhoops: Another Urban recruit --> Colts cut ex Gator RB Chris Rainey for reportedly violating team rules http://t.co/K29REonaix via…
32mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Huh, whatta ya know, @emptywheel noted that ceasefire was probably just to allow @CNN to take IDF propaganda shots of tunnels+she was right.
34mreplyretweetfavorite
November 2011
S M T W T F S
« Oct   Dec »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930