ANCHORAGE - Bill Allen, the former head of Veco Corp., will not be a government witness in the corruption trial against former state Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch, according to court papers.
Weyhrauch's lawyer Doug Pope filed a memorandum with U.S. District Court in Anchorage saying that federal prosecutors told him they have no intention of calling Allen to testify. Allen pleaded guilty to bribery and tax violations and now is serving three years at a federal facility in California.
It's unclear how the government would prosecute Weyhrauch without Allen. However, there are other Veco officials they could call, including Rick Smith, Allen's lieutenant for political affairs. Smith pleaded guilty to bribery and was sentenced the same day as Allen to 21 months in prison. He's due for release July 20, 2011.
Allen's credibility has suffered since he was the chief government witness in three prior federal corruption trials, including that of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens. His testimony was crucial in sending former state Reps. Pete Kott and Vic Kohring to prison in 2007.
After a jury found Stevens guilty, the case against him fell apart. The Justice Department admitted it failed to turn over significant evidence to Stevens' attorneys, including FBI reports showing Allen's statements evolving over time. Allen's statements to FBI agents generally became more damning of Stevens as Stevens' trial date approached.
In the Stevens' case, six prosecutors were placed under investigation for criminal contempt by a special prosecutor. The prosecutors and FBI agents involved in the Alaska corruption investigation also are under internal Justice Department investigation.
Weyhrauch, a Juneau attorney and two-term Republican member of the House, had initially been indicted, along with Kott, on bribery, extortion, fraud and conspiracy charges.
Among Weyhrauch's alleged criminal acts was his failure to disclose that he had solicited legal work from Veco before the end of the 2006 legislative session. Veco, a now defunct oil-field services company, was extremely active in that session, promoting petroleum tax changes beneficial to the industry.
Weyhrauch's case was separated from Kott's when the government announced it would appeal a decision by the trial judge that Weyhrauch did not violate state law when he failed to disclose his solicitations of Veco.
The appeal went all the way to the Supreme Court. In June, the Supreme Court indirectly sided with Weyhrauch, making its final ruling in another case involving similar issues.
It then sent the Weyhrauch case back to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to apply the related ruling. The 9th Circuit told both sides to submit their briefs by Aug. 9.
Meanwhile, Weyhrauch's trial date is set for Sept. 13.
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