Two Justice Department prosecutors in the bungled corruption trial of the late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) will be suspended without pay for “reckless professional misconduct” in failing to disclose critical information to the senator’s defense team, says an internal Justice review reported by USA Today. Joseph Bottini, an assistant U.S. attorney in Alaska, was suspended for 40 days, and James Goeke, an assistant U.S. attorney in Washington state, got 15 days, according to findings released Thursday by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.
Bottini will appeal the punishment to the federal Merit Systems Protection Board. Brendan Sullivan, Stevens’ attorney, said the suspensions represented “a laughable and pathetic response” to the misconduct findings, which centered on the prosecution’s failure to disclose inconsistent and false statements by its chief government witness. A jury convicted Stevens in 2008 on seven counts of lying on Senate financial disclosure statements. Stevens lost his re-election bid. Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan threw out the conviction in 2009.