Weyhrauch loses round in court

Appeals court declines to reconsider former state lawmaker's case

Posted: Monday, January 12, 2009

An appeals court rejected a request from former state Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch to overturn a previous ruling in his attempt to prevent certain evidence from being introduced at trial.

The Juneau Republican has been indicted on corruption charges in connection with VECO Corp., a former oil services' company, and its efforts to win lower gas and oil taxes for its business partners in the oil industry.

In December, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling in Weyhrauch's favor. Weyhrauch's lawyer asked for a rehearing with the full court. But on Wednesday the court declined to reconsider.

Attorney Douglas Pope said an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is planned.

At issue is whether prosecutors can introduce evidence about Alaska's conflict of interest rules for legislators.

Federal prosecutors said Weyhrauch voted and took other official action on behalf of VECO, while at the same time negotiating a future job with the company. Control of a natural gas pipeline and oil taxes worth tens of billions of dollars were at stake at the time.

Weyhrauch has said he complied with the state's conflict of interest rules.

It may take months before the Supreme Court announces whether it will agree to hear the case.

Weyhrauch's co-defendant, former House Speaker Pete Kott, a Republican from Eagle River and Juneau, is serving time in federal prison in Oregon.

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