From McClatchy Newspapers:
WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors pursuing the late Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens engaged in “significant, widespread and, at times, intentional” misconduct but should not face criminal contempt charges, a special court investigator has concluded.
In a 500-page report, whose conclusions were made public Monday by a federal judge, special investigator Henry Schuelke III determined that prosecutors systematically withheld potentially useful information from Stevens’ defense team…
Nonetheless, after reviewing an estimated 150,000 documents and conducting numerous interviews, Schuelke concluded that criminal contempt charges should not be brought against the prosecutors from the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section. The prosecutors, Schuelke reasoned, had not disobeyed a direct order.
“Because the court accepted the prosecutors’ repeated assertions that they were complying with their obligations and proceeding in good faith, the court did not issue a ‘clear and unequivocal’ order directing the attorneys to follow the law,” Sullivan stated.
The unspoken but inescapable assumption here is that federal prosecutors will only follow the law they are sworn to uphold if given a direct order to do so by a judge. It is equally depressing to see that nobody involved seemed to notice that the prosecutors repeatedly perjured themselves in court. Don’t try this at home, kids.
Or on the road. Eighty in a 40 mile zone? Sure I saw the sign, officer, but how can I be expected to obey the law when you didn’t order me directly to?