Still on home confinement, Cowdery asks for passport

August 21, 2009 

Former state Sen. John Cowdery is asking a federal judge to order the return of his passport, even though he still has about a month left on his sentence of home confinement on a public corruption charge.

Cowdery, 79, is also seeking permission to travel later this month to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for medical treatment. His attorney, Kevin Fitzgerald, declined to say what kind of treatment Cowdery was seeking.

"He's not doing well," Fitzgerald said.

Cowdery, a Republican, spent most of his working life as a contractor. He also represented parts of the Anchorage Hillside and Lake Otis Parkway area for 14 years in the Alaska House and Senate.

He pleaded guilty on Dec. 19, 2008, to conspiring with officials from the oil field service company Veco to bribe another senator into supporting the industry position on oil taxes in 2006. Because of Cowdery's bad health, U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline declined to sentence him to prison. Instead, Beistline fined Cowdery $25,000 and ordered him to serve three years' probation, six months of which was to be served in home confinement.

The home confinement portion of Cowdery's punishment is due to expire in mid-September.

In his motion, filed Thursday, Cowdery asked for permission to travel to Minnesota from Aug. 28 to Sept. 4 but made no mention of a trip that would require a passport.

The probation office in Anchorage expressed no objection to Cowdery's travel to Minnesota, but notified the U.S. probation office in Minneapolis that Cowdery was due to pass through, according to a probation document filed with Cowdery's motion.

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