This week’s announcement that U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan had tossed out the conviction of former Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens shed some light on the workings of the Public Integrity Section (PIN) of the Department of Justice.
The Public Integrity Section (which is part of the Criminal Division of the DOJ) is tasked with the following mission:
The Public Integrity Section oversees the federal effort to combat corruption through the prosecution of elected and appointed public officials at all levels of government….Section attorneys prosecute selected cases against federal, state, and local officials, and are available as a source of advice and expertise to other prosecutors and investigators. Since 1978, the Section has supervised the administration of the Independent Counsel provisions of the Ethics in Government Act.
The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 mandates that the Attorney General report annually to Congress the conduct and operation of all PIN activity. Ostensibly this requirement is to ensure that the prosecution of publicly elected officials does not become a political weapon wielded by the Executive branch. The PIN is staffed and led by a cadre of career prosecutors, one of whom is Brenda Morris, the lead trial attorney in the Stevens prosecution and the object of U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan’s wrath. Judge Sullivan, as readers may recall, has ordered a criminal investigation into the activities of Steven’s prosecutors and noted,
“In nearly 25 years on the bench, I’ve never seen anything approaching the mishandling and misconduct that I’ve seen in this case,”
So, who is Brenda Morris? (CV here) Well, she’s been with the Public Integrity Section since 1991. She was in on the Jack Abramoff prosecution. She has a record of getting herself and her office in sticky situations (read: financial penalties assessed to the DOJ for prosecutorial abuse). She was a supervisor of the Scooter Libby prosecution team. She was trained in the office of legendary New York District Attorney (Democrat) Henry Morgenthau. I very much look forward to finding out more about Brenda Morris as the criminal investigation of her proceeds.
What little we do know about Ms. Morris, however, puts the lie to the idea that it was George Bush’s Republican appointed Justice Department that convicted Senator Stevens. Instead, it’s beginning to look more and more like a case brought by career prosecutors that smell a lot like partisan Democrats.
If any readers have more information on Brenda Morris then please do share.
Update: Curiously the Halcro link is no longer available so use this one concerning Ms. Morris’ previous problems.