Murkowski Statement on Stevens Prosecutors’ Suspensions

Senator: Decision “Falls Short on Many Counts,” Will Attend June 6th Hearing

The Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility today announced the suspension of two members of the prosecution team that worked on the ethics case against Senator Ted Stevens – a case vacated within months of the verdict due to prosecutorial misconduct.  Joseph Bottini and James Goeke were found to have engaged in reckless and unintentional professional misconduct and will be suspended without pay for 40 and 15 days, respectively.  Senator Murkowski had the following reaction to the news:

“This announcement falls short on many counts.  First, this report contradicts the finding of the independent investigator Henry Schuelke III, who determined the misconduct involved was indeed intentional.  This announcement looks at the same information but shies away from that judgment. I find it difficult to reconcile these conflicting conclusions.  I remain concerned that there was a nine-month time lag between this report being finalized and today’s announcement regarding sanctions against the prosecutors. I feel this demonstrates a lack of candor when the Justice Department needs to make restoring trust through transparency their top priority.

“Above all, what this report does not address is the concerns of many Alaskans and Americans deeply troubled that all this misconduct took place in one of the highest-profile cases in the 200 year history of the Department of Justice.  Rather than speak to the possibility of a larger, more systemic problem inside the Justice Department, the Office of Professional Responsibility wants us to believe that this was the inadvertent errors of two lone actors.

“I remain unconvinced of this.

“I plan on making all of these points when the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on June 6th, and trying to get closer to an answer.”