The Justice Department has again conceded to acts of prosecutorial misconduct that will result in the release of two politicians from jail in Alaska. In a case with obvious similarities to the botched case of former Sen. Ted. Stevens of Alaska, former Representatives Pete Kott and Vic Kohring will likely be released soon after the Justice Department admitted that it withheld evidence that should have been turned over to the defense. What is most striking is that the same prosecutors were involved in both the cases of Stevens and these state legislators.
In addition to the Stevens case, a different set of prosecutors from the Justice Department has been accused of similar violations in another case, here.
The Justice Department conceded before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco. Once again, Attorney General Eric Holder insisted that, despite a long effort to avoid such accountability by the Department, it was doing the right thing “duty to admit and correct those mistakes.” As with the Stevens case, the Justice Department had to be confronted by the defense before it found the moral clarity in the case.
Both the Stevens case and this case involving Kott and Kohring involved shady dealings with Bill Allen, the former owner of the oil-contracting company Veco Corp. They were both convicted on bribery and corruption charges in 2007 after allegedly taking bribes to stop legislation on raising state taxes on oil companies. This included considerable surveillance evidence.
The overlap of the prosecution teams included the four main prosecutors Joseph Bottini, James Goeke, Nicholas Marsh and Edward Sullivan.
This admission occurred shortly after a defense lawyer wrote to Attorney General Holder identifying a document that was not turned over to the defense. Congress needs to investigate these cases to determine if officials at Justice was aware of the withheld material and simply waited to be confronted on the matter — hoping that it would not be raised by the defense.
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin released an email in which she said that she support the decision and said that she was “wildly curious what went on in DOJ back then, and what is going on in DOJ now that’s resulted in these stunning turn of events.” Now, her wild curiosity can be satisfied and two more corrupt politicians set free due to the incompetence and unethical conduct of the Justice Department prosecutors.
Kott previously said he “had to cheat, steal, beg, borrow and lie” to get benefits for the industry but added “Exxon’s happy. BP’s happy. I’ll sell my soul to the devil.” It turns out that he only had to guarantee that he was prosecuted by the Justice Department.
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