Kohring moves to have charges against him revised

Richard Mauer

Former Rep. Vic Kohring says his acquittal on one of four felonies at his original corruption trial in 2007 should mean that any mention of his acceptance of cash bribes should be stricken from charges at his retrial in October.

In filings Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage, Kohring also asked that former Veco chief executive Bill Allen, the government's star witness at his first trial, be required to declare whether he would answer questions under oath about his relationships with underage girls.

Prosecutors haven't said whether they will call Allen to testify at Kohring's retrial.

Allen, photographed by a hidden FBI video camera in a hotel room in Juneau as he handed cash to Kohring and other legislators, pleaded guilty to bribery and cooperated with the FBI. But his credibility has suffered since the original round of corruption trials in 2007 and 2008 following reports that he had sex with underaged girls and attempted to get at least two women to lie under oath about it.

An appeals court has ruled that prosecutors improperly withheld that information and more from Kohring and former House Speaker Pete Kott, who also was tried and convicted on Allen's testimony in 2007. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered new trials for both.

Kohring's attorney, Michael Filipovic, a public defender in Seattle, said in the court filings Tuesday that if prosecutors won't call Allen, he might want him as a defense witness. But he wants to know first whether Allen would assert his Fifth Amendment right to not talk about the child sex allegations, for which he could still be prosecuted. Filipovic asked U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline to order an evidentiary hearing at which Allen and his attorney would appear.

On the issue of the charges Kohring is facing, Filipovic said the indictment should be revised to reflect Kohring's acquittal on count 2 of the original indictment, an extortion charge.

Filipovic said the U.S. Constitution's protection against double jeopardy means he can't be tried again on the charge. He also asserted that the basis for that charge -- Kohring's acceptance of cash from Allen on at least four occasions, two captured on video -- should also be dropped from the indictment.

Those cash payments, totaling between $2,100 and $2,600, are also cited in the indictment's conspiracy and bribery counts. If struck from the charges, those remaining counts would only list a single specific benefit that Kohring sought from Allen: that Kohring asked Allen for help under the table to repay a $17,000 credit card debt. Kohring never got that money.

Prosecutors have not yet responded to the latest filings.

Reach Richard Mauer at rmauer@adn.com or 257-4345.

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