The judge in the Stevens case has repeatedly delayed sentencing and criticized trial prosecutors for what he's called prosecutorial misconduct. At one point, prosecutors were held in contempt. Things got so bad that the Justice Department finally replaced the trial team, including top-ranking officials in the office of public integrity. That's the department's section charged with prosecuting public corruption cases.Good for Holder. This says nothing about Stevens's guilt or innocence, of course. This is about the insistence that those who wield power refrain from abuse.
With more ugly hearings expected, Holder is said to have decided late Tuesday to pull the plug....
Holder's decision is said to be based on Stevens' age — he's 85 — and because Stevens is no longer in the Senate. Perhaps most importantly, Justice Department officials say Holder wants to send a message to prosecutors throughout the department that actions he regards as misconduct will not be tolerated.
Holder began his career in the department's public integrity section; and, according to sources, he was horrified by the failure of prosecutors to turn over all relevant materials to the defense.
April 1, 2009
Nina Totenberg reports: