Former Rep. Bev Masek has asked to have her sentencing on a bribery charge delayed because a witness won't be available for the hearing.
Masek, who pleaded guilty in March to conspiring to accept a bribe from former Veco chief executive Bill Allen, was due to learn her punishment on Sept. 16. Her plea bargain provides a range of 18 to 24 months in prison and a $4,000 to $40,000 fine, though U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline can go outside that range if he finds cause to.
The maximum penalty is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
In a motion filed last week, Masek's public defender said a key witness, Dr. Ted Mala, can't make it to the Sept. 16 hearing and asked that sentencing be delayed until the last week of October. If the delay is granted, it would be the third time Masek's sentencing, originally set for May, has been postponed.
Mala, one of three witnesses the defense expects to present at sentencing, is director of tribal relations at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage and an expert in combining traditional and Western medicine.
Federal Public Defender Rich Curtner said in his motion that Mala has known Masek for years and considers her a good candidate for the Southcentral Foundation's "Circle of Recovery" program.
The program, for Alaska Natives who have low incomes and little or no medical insurance, helps clients obtain mental health and substance abuse counseling, employment services and other support, Curtner said.
In June, Beistline delayed Masek's sentencing at Curtner's request so she could complete psychiatric and substance abuse evaluations.
Masek, a Republican who represented the Matanuska-Susitna area from 1995 to 2004, pleaded guilty in March to participating in a bribery conspiracy by accepting at least $4,000 from Allen.
In return for one of those payments, she killed a bill in 2003 that would have raised oil taxes after Allen told her it was "harmful" to his oil industry clients. Veco's main line of business was construction and specialized services in oil fields.
Find Richard Mauer online at adn.com/contact/rmauer or call 257-4345.