Embattled state Trooper Mike Wooten, in an interview aired Friday on the CNN cable news network, admitted he'd made some mistakes and is feeling stress from having his troubles with the Palin family splashed across the national news media.
Wooten didn't directly discuss allegations that Gov. Sarah Palin abused her powers by pressuring her former public safety commissioner to fire the trooper, who was involved in a rough divorce with Palin's sister.
In July, Palin dumped the commissioner, Walt Monegan, who has said he believes his failure to dismiss Wooten might have cost him his job. Palin refutes that, saying she and Monegan had friction over budgeting.
Palin, her family members and at least one of her aides have harped about Wooten's alleged misdeeds -- that he demonstrated a Taser stun gun on his preteen stepson, shot a cow moose unlawfully, and operated his patrol car after drinking alcohol.
A trooper internal investigation begun in April 2005 and completed in March 2006 resulted in a five-day suspension for Wooten.
With his union representative by his side, Wooten on Thursday taped a brief interview in Anchorage with the CNN Special Investigations Unit, part of the army of international news people in Alaska to gather background on Palin, running for vice president on John McCain's Republican ticket.
Wooten told CNN: "You know, I was young and I made mistakes and I was punished for those mistakes. I learned my lesson. They're behind me and I'm trying to move on and be the best dad I can be to my children and be the best trooper that I can be. You know, I love my job and I love this state."
CNN reporter Drew Griffin noted Wooten, 36, has had four failed marriages, and that he denied threatening to kill Palin's father. Griffin also said Wooten holds no ill will toward Palin and is "actually excited" about her vice presidential nomination.
The Washington Post on Wednesday reported on e-mail messages Monegan said he received from Palin. In a Feb. 7, 2007, e-mail, Palin purportedly wrote: "It was a joke, the whole year long 'investigation' of him," referring to Wooten.
Wooten's union this week filed an ethics complaint against Palin accusing members of her administration of prowling through Wooten's confidential personnel and workers' compensation files for information to use against him.
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