There are still thousands of secret documents in the FBI's Alaska corruption investigation. Former House Speaker Pete Kott says about 4,500 pages of them should be unsealed to ensure his retrial is fair.
Kott's attorney filed court papers Tuesday saying the defense needs the documents to be made public so it can use them to question witnesses and challenge the entire government case.
A large portion of the material has already been aired from other sources. But it also includes as many as several hundred pages of documents related to FBI whistleblower Chad Joy, one-time partner of the lead investigator of the case.
Sheryl Gordon McCloud, Kott's attorney, said in her filing that the Joy material remains so secret that prosecutors only allowed her to view it in a government office and refused to let her make copies.
Joy's allegations of misconduct on the part of FBI agents and prosecutors was one of the factors behind the unraveling of the case against former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and, later, the appellate court reversals of the convictions of Kott and former Alaska Rep. Vic Kohring. Two investigations into Joy's allegations have been under way for more than two years, with no public results yet.
McCloud said the secret documents -- and one secret hearing held in a closed courtroom before Kott's 2007 trial -- have no place in the U.S. judicial system.
"Secrecy in trials can encourage corruption and abuse of power," she wrote in her motion. "The Supreme Court has therefore emphasized the need for an open courtroom, and transparency, in the context of the most high profile cases."
In addition to the Joy material, some 4,000 pages of secret investigative files were turned over to the defense after Kott's first trial, when prosecutors admitted they had failed to give him favorable evidence they had uncovered.
The defense attorneys are still bound by protective orders to keep those 4,000 pages secret, though they have revealed in court filings that they contain evidence that witnesses had made statements contradicting their testimony at Kott's trial.
Another batch of material is about the Anchorage Police Department investigation into sexual misconduct with minors by the lead witness in Kott's first trial, former oil field contractor Bill Allen of Veco. That police investigation has been the subject of numerous media accounts, along with allegations that Allen tried to suppress disclosure of his conduct by obtaining perjured statements and paying witnesses to leave Alaska.
Kott's retrial has been scheduled for Dec. 5 in Anchorage, though the defense is seeking a change of venue.
Reach Richard Mauer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4345.