A special prosecutor in Washington, D.C., was granted authority Tuesday to compel testimony from the Justice Department team that took Sen. Ted Stevens to trial. He was also authorized to subpoena the former lead FBI agent in the Alaska corruption investigation and key witness Bill Allen and his attorney.
The subpoena authority was approved by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who presided over Stevens' trial last year. When the Stevens case fell apart over charges of prosecutorial misconduct, Sullivan appointed the special prosecutor, Henry Schuelke III, to investigate the prosecutors for criminal contempt.
The matter is also being investigated by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, which is cooperating with Schuelke. The Justice Department investigation is expected to run at least into the fall.
The filings in Washington Tuesday -- Schuelke's two-page request and its quick approval by Sullivan -- show his investigation continues to move ahead even as little has shown above the surface.
Schuelke had been directed by Sullivan to only investigate the six prosecutors. With those orders unchanged, it's most likely Schuelke is seeking the testimony of the agent, Allen and Allen's attorney as witnesses.
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