Judge in Stevens Case Starts Criminal Contempt Proceedings Against DOJ Officials

UPDATE: Judge Sullivan announced today that he will commence criminal proceedings against DOJ attorneys on the Stevens' case:

Sullivan said today that he would commence criminal contempt proceedings against the original trial team and their supervisor, and appoint a non-government lawyer to prosecute the case.

That includes William Welch II, chief of the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section; Brenda Morris, his principal deputy chief and former lead prosecutor in the case, public integrity prosecutors Edward Sullivan and Nick Marsh; and Alaska-based assistant U.S. attorneys James Goeke and Joseph Bottini.

The judge said that "the interest of justice" he would appoint Henry Schuelke III, name partner at Janis, Schuelke & Wechsler, to investigate and prosecute team for violating court orders and potentially obstructing justice.

An outside appointment of an independent prosecutor under these circumstances where conflict of interest is raised is not uncommon, but from what I've heard it was not announced prior to today's proceedings which is a little unusual. That says the Judge was pissed by whatever was in documents he ordered DOJ to turnover regarding further misconduct allegations that Holder found so objectionable when he issued his indictment dismissal.

Hold onto your hats, kids -- this just got even rockier for Justice.

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