FBI corruption investigation includes audio, video

May 29, 2007 

Evidence in the corruption case against Rep. Vic Kohring, R-Wasilla, includes thousands of pages of documents and hundreds of hours of audio and video recordings, Kohring’s lawyers said today in federal court.

Defense lawyers asked for more time to sift through all that information, and U.S. District Judge John Sedwick agreed, delaying the trial from July 9 until Oct. 22.

Kohring faces bribery and extortion charges. He was originally scheduled to go to trial in early July, but federal prosecutors didn’t fight his request for more time.

Only a fraction of the evidence in the case specifically mentions Kohring, said defense lawyer John Henry Browne. Still, Browne said, he and his staff have to review all evidence - including nine computer discs filled with documents and recordings, plus two hard drives full of information - and there was no way to do that by early July.

“This is a lot of information, to say the least,” Browne said.

Kohring is accused of selling his vote on oil taxes last year to the oil field services company Veco Corp. Veco executives Bill Allen and Rick Smith this month pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bribery charges.

Prosecutor Edward Sullivan said the evidence includes a number of conversations “intercepted” in Room 604, a reference to Veco’s suite in Juneau’s Baranof Hotel, and telephone conversations involving Allen and Smith recorded over 11 months beginning in September 2005.

The short hearing took place in a nearly empty courtroom. Kohring, his lawyers and the federal prosecutors all participated by phone.

n Daily News reporter Kyle Hopkins can be reached at khopkins@adn.com.

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