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Track Palin enters plea deal in January domestic-violence case

  • Author: Chris Klint
  • Updated: August 24, 2016
  • Published July 15, 2016

Track Palin, son of former Gov. Sarah Palin, has entered a plea agreement with the state in a special court for veterans for charges of punching a woman in the face at the family's Wasilla home in January.

Kevin Fitzgerald, Track Palin's attorney, said Friday his client had opted into Anchorage Veterans Court — a move Palin had been considering since May — during a Monday proceeding.

Court records show the agreement involved the state dropping two of three misdemeanor charges against Palin, including domestic-violence assault and interfering with the report of a domestic-violence crime.

"As a condition of his entry into that court the state dismissed the first two counts," Fitzgerald said. "Track pled to misconduct involving weapons (in the fourth degree), concerning being under the influence and having a firearm."

Palin served with the U.S. Army in Iraq for a year starting in September 2008.

Wasilla police arrested Palin, 27, on the night of Jan. 18 at the Palins' Lake Lucille home. A woman at the residence said he had punched and kicked her during a dispute over her contact with an ex-boyfriend, threw her phone and threatened to commit suicide with a rifle.

Police said Palin, who suffered facial injuries, told officers the woman struck him with an elbow. He later provided a breath sample with an alcohol content of .189.

Track Palin will have to complete a regime of "alcohol-related" treatment under the terms of this week's agreement, Fitzgerald said. Upon successful completion of the treatment, the weapons-misconduct charge will be expunged from his record. But if that doesn't happen, Palin will receive a 180-day suspended jail sentence and be placed under informal probation for two years.

Anchorage District Attorney Clint Campion, a military veteran who oversees the local veterans court, said Friday the outcome of Palin's plea agreement is consistent with similar cases the court has handled.

"Mr. Palin is getting no special treatment from the state, and I'm not treating his case any different than I would anyone under the same charges or circumstances," Campion said.

Details of Track Palin's treatment regime were still being worked out following a Tuesday evaluation, Campion said. Although the nature of his program will remain confidential between him and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, prosecutors retain the option to revisit the case if Palin doesn't complete its requirements.

"We'll get constant status reports and updates on his progress," Campion said.

Fitzgerald said veterans court environment's is highly supportive, with other veterans congratulating comrades as they achieve milestones toward completing their sentences.

"It's a pretty unique court," Fitzgerald said. "It's designed to get veterans together and it's designed to generate camaraderie, so they all work together."

News reports of Track Palin's arrest surfaced the next day, Jan. 19, just as ex-Gov. Palin was endorsing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. She later told reporters Track had returned from Iraq "a bit different," and criticized the Obama administration's aid options for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

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