In what the Anchorage Daily News calls another shocking development in Alaska’s political corruption investigation, the U.S. Justice Department asked that two former state legislators be released from prison because their trials were tainted by the failure of prosecutors to disclose information favorable to the defense. The department said Pete Kott and Vic Kohring should be set free while their cases are sent back to U.S. District Court in Anchorage, where they were convicted in 2007.
The issue is similar to the problem that led to dismissal of charges against U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens in April after he was convicted on seven counts of failure to disclose gifts and services. In the case of the state legislators, videos secretly taken from a lamp in a Juneau hotel suite captured Kott and Kohring talking oil-tax strategy with officials from the now defunct oil-field service company Veco Inc. The government presented evidence that those officials made illegal payments to Kott and Kohring.