New Kott court filing for dismissal cites federal cases

Lisa Demer

Pete Kott, the former state House speaker awaiting a court decision in the federal corruption case against him, has made a new filing to support his request to get the charges tossed or a new trial.

In a court filing Monday, Kott cites recent dismissals of two federal cases -- including that against Blackwater guards accused of killing unarmed civilians in Baghdad -- as examples of how his case should turn out.

Kott also points to a Jan. 4 directive from the U.S. attorney general's office detailing what materials prosecutors nationwide must give to the defense to ensure a fair trial.

"... It includes not just material from the U.S. Attorney's files but from all those associated with the prosecution team, and it includes not just information memorialized in written statements but also evidence favorable to the accused that is transmitted in a 'conversation,' " Sheryl Gordon McCloud, Kott's lawyer, wrote.

U.S. District Judge John Sedwick is considering whether Kott, an Eagle River Republican, should be retried, have his charges dismissed or be sent back to prison.

In 2007, Kott was convicted of bribery, extortion and conspiracy and went to prison the next year. But after the collapse of the corruption case against former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens last year, prosecutors took another look at the cases of Kott and former Rep. Vic Kohring. Last summer, both were released from prison while issues of a fair trial are hashed out in court.

Kott's appeals lawyer has argued that prosecutors failed to turn over contradictory statements by Bill Allen, star witness in the oil-tax corruption case. Prosecutors say Kott got a fair trial even if the defense didn't have access to everything and that the evidence of corruption was overwhelming, including dozens of secretly recorded conservations.

Kott's new filing refers to fresh developments in other cases and the week-old Justice Department memorandum.

In the Blackwater case, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 31 dismissed the indictment of Blackwater guards on the grounds that prosecutors improperly relied on what the guards told State Department investigators after the killings, a violation of their rights against self-incrimination.

In the other case, a federal judge in California earlier in December dismissed securities-fraud charges against executives of chipmaker Broadcom Corp. after finding that the prosecutor had intimidated witnesses.

As to the Jan. 4 guidance for federal prosecutors, it says they should document all witness interviews and save their rough notes, McCloud says.

But prosecutors in Kott's case have yet to provide rough notes, finished notes, FBI reports or other materials from the initial Aug. 30, 2006, interview with Allen that would explain why he so cooperated so quickly, according to McCloud.

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