Stevens legal team calls discipline 'laughable'

The legal team that defended Sen. Ted Stevens in his corruption trial has harshly criticized as too light the punishment handed out to a pair of prosecutors found to have engaged in reckless professional misconduct in the case.

A Justice Department report, released Thursday, says assistant U.S. attorneys Joseph Bottini and James Goeke failed to disclose information to the Stevens legal team that was favorable to the lawmaker. Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility concluded the failure to turn over the material was not intentional. The department imposed a 40-day suspension on Bottini and a 15-day suspension on Goeke.

They can appeal to the independent Merit Systems Protection Board. Lawyers for both prosecutors disputed the finding of misconduct.

In a statement, Stevens's lawyers called the punishment laughable and pathetic.