Federal prosecutors have decided against dismissing charges against two former Alaska lawmakers who say their corruption convictions in a bribery case resulted from prosecutorial misconduct. In court documents filed Friday in Anchorage, prosecutors and defense attorneys said they couldn't agree on how the cases against former Reps. Pete Kott and Vic Kohring should proceed.
The disagreement leaves U.S. District Judge John Sedwick to decide later this year or in 2010 whether Kott and Kohring should get new trials on charges of taking bribes from an oil-field contractor. Their convictions were challenged because the same team of prosecutors handled a related case against former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, whose conviction for failing to disclose gifts from the contractor was thrown out because evidence was withheld. Attorneys for Kott and Kohring had sought dismissal of all charges based on the failure of prosecutors to turn over favorable evidence.
The U.S. Justice Department asked Sedwick to release Kott and Kohring from prison pending a determination of whether the government's failure to fully disclose information about oil executive Bill Allen and others had tainted the trials. Allen, the founder and former chairman of the now-defunct VECO Corp., was the government's star witness against Stevens, Kott and Kohring in their bribery trials. The charges against Stevens were dismissed but Kott and Kohring have appealed their convictions to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.