Ex-state representative Weyhrauch plans appeal of court ruling

Lisa DemerAlaska Dispatch News

Former state Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch plans to appeal an appeals court ruling against him to the U.S. Supreme Court, his lawyer, Doug Pope of Anchorage, said Wednesday.

The issue is whether Weyhrauch should have disclosed his efforts to seek legal work from the defunct oil-field services company Veco Corp. regardless of whether state law specifically required that.

In Weyhrauch's case, prosecutors say, he was soliciting a Veco job at the same time he was voting on an oil tax pushed by Veco's chief executive, Bill Allen. Prosecutors argue that a failure to disclose what they describe as a conflict of interest amounts to honest services fraud, a federal offense.

But the defense says that imposes a higher standard of conduct than in state law, which doesn't specifically require disclosure in those circumstances.

Weyhrauch was indicted in May 2007 on bribery, extortion, fraud and conspiracy charges.

In November, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that prosecutors can move forward with their theory of fraud.

Weyhrauch then asked for the entire appeals court to reconsider. On Wednesday, the three-judge panel denied Weyhrauch's petition for a rehearing, setting the stage for him to go to the Supreme Court.

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