Stevens prosecutors lose bid to delay release of report

Sean CockerhamMcClatchy-Tribune News Service

WASHINGTON -- An appeals court denied an attempt to stop Thursday's release of an investigative report into misconduct by prosecutors in the case against former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.

The ruling by the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request by Edward Sullivan, the most junior member of the Stevens prosecution team, to delay the release while he appeals a judge's order that the report be made public.

The appeals court ruling offered no explanation of the decision to deny Sullivan's request, other than that he did not satisfy the "stringent requirements" needed to justify an emergency delay of a judge's order.

The ruling clears the way for Thursday's release of a 500-page report into the conduct of the Department of Justice attorneys involved in the botched prosecution of the longtime senator.

A jury found Stevens guilty in 2008 of lying on financial disclosure forms, but the convictions were thrown out a year later when the Justice Department admitted that it failed to turn over evidence to the defense that would have helped Stevens.

Stevens lost his re-election race right after the convictions and died in a plane crash in 2010.

The report into Department of Justice misconduct in the case was done by Harry Schuelke, a special prosecutor assigned by the judge in the Stevens case to review whether any of the six prosecutors most involved in the case should face criminal contempt charges. In ordering the report to be made public, Sullivan has already said that Schuelke came to the conclusion that criminal contempt charges were not warranted.

The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility has its own report on the Stevens case, which hasn't yet been made public.

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