William Welch, the government’s top public corruption prosecutor, will step down from his post, the Justice Department confirmed Wednesday.
“The Public Integrity Section is one of the great jewels of the Criminal Division. It’s got a glorious history with many, many great lawyers. I’m exceedingly proud of our lawyers in the Public Integrity Section. ... Bill’s shoes will be hard to fill,— Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer of the Criminal Division said Wednesday about Welch, the chief of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section.
“We will begin shortly a national search, and we will try to find a great leader to take over the Public Integrity Section,— Breuer added, according to a transcript provided by the Justice Department.
Breuer, who called Welch’s departure a “mutual decision,— said Welch will return to Boston, where he had previously spent most of his career.
Welch continues to face a criminal contempt investigation into his role and that of five other federal prosecutors in the trial of ex-Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) last year.
A federal judge in April dismissed a guilty verdict against Stevens at the request of the Justice Department, after it acknowledged that prosecutors had improperly withheld evidence from Stevens’ defense team.
Stevens had been charged with filing false financial statements to conceal the receipt of gifts.
According to the Washington Post, Public Integrity Section Deputy Chief Brenda Morris, who served as the lead attorney in the Stevens trial, also left the Justice Department earlier this year, moving to Atlanta.