At a private ceremony Thursday morning, U.S. Attorney General William Barr presented one of the Justice Department’s most prestigious awards to a group of government lawyers who supported Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018, a contentious confirmation process that became embroiled in allegations of sexual misconduct.

The ceremony came a day after a public event at DAR Constitution Hall, a venue near the White House, where other recipients of the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service were honored for their work on significant prosecutions last year. Lee Lofthus, a Justice Department leader who has served since 2006 as assistant attorney general for administration, said during Wednesday’s ceremony that the Kavanaugh team would be honored Thursday at the Justice Department.

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