Correction to This Article
The article gave the wrong title for the chief of the Justice Department's criminal division. Lanny A. Breuer is an assistant attorney general. In addition, a photo caption accompanying the article incorrectly said that prosecutor Brenda Morris had been reassigned. She continues to work in the department's public integrity section.
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Months After Ted Stevens Debacle, Justice Department Corruption Unit in Disarray

"Even with the challenges of the past several months, every day in the Public Integrity Section an elite group of prosecutors work tirelessly and effectively to fight public corruption across the country," spokeswoman Laura Sweeney said.

"It is serious and disturbing that the government -- the party that was claiming to attack public corruption -- was the party that actually withheld these stacks of documents from the defense and the public," said Sheryl Gordon McCloud, an attorney for Kott.

Lawyers representing other targets of the five-year-long Alaska corruption probe known as "Operation Polar Pen" report receiving hundreds of pages of materials from newly installed prosecutors in recent days.

Douglas Pope, who is defending former Alaska representative Bruce Weyhrauch (R), said he met last week with an "entirely new team of prosecutors and an FBI agent" who "started producing a bunch of discovery that should have been produced before the trial."

Since early April, when Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. publicly condemned the lapses as inexcusable, attorneys for public officials in other cases have raised allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. With that backdrop, lawyers in the department's Criminal Division, led by Associate Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, earlier this month transferred prosecutors Nicholas Marsh and Edward Sullivan out of the public integrity unit. The decision was controversial at the department because the internal probe was at an early stage and because supervisors remained on the job.

William Welch, the chief of the Public Integrity Section, and Morris, his principal deputy, have continued to work on cases since the transfer of two of their subordinates, but as an administrative review continues, they no longer have management responsibility, the sources said. Other lawyers in the section have taken on supervisory roles in specific cases.

Sources said that among the questions investigators are pursuing is how closely the work of the Stevens trial team was supervised by officials in the Criminal Division. Senior political and career lawyers there may have offered input and monitored decisions about the kinds of material to turn over to Stevens's defense team at Williams & Connolly, the sources added. Senior officials at the department also made decisions about the composition of the trial team, adding Morris, who had more courtroom experience, only weeks before the trial.

Research director Lucy Shackelford contributed to this report.


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