Former Rep. Vic Kohring wants to have his retrial on corruption charges moved to another state because of "presumed prejudice" among potential Alaska jurors.
In a change of venue motion filed Friday, Kohring's Seattle public defender, Michael Filipovic, said overwhelming publicity in Alaska media since the FBI raided legislative offices in 2006 will prevent Kohring from getting a fair trial.
Though he acknowledged that most of the coverage was factual, some editorials and letters to the editor were inflammatory, Filipovic said. Much of the material, including FBI video from Kohring's first trial, is still available on the Internet, he said.
"Mr. Kohring has also been the subject of recent lampooning in the district he formerly represented," Filipovic said. "Recent cartoons in the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman portray him alternately as a rat and as a legislator who was 'bought for $200.00 instead of $2,000.00.' "
He asked that the case be moved to one of the other eight western states within the region of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which had ordered the new trial of Kohring.
Change of venues are often sought but rarely given, especially before potential jurors are questioned to determine whether they in fact are prejudiced. Kohring attempted to move his original trial to the Western District of Washington in 2007, but the request was denied and he was convicted by an Anchorage jury.
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By RICHARD MAUER