A federal judge rejected requests to overturn a verdict and get a new trial in the case of an Alaska legislator convicted of taking bribes.
Former Rep. Vic Kohring, R-Wasilla, was convicted in 2007 on bribery and other charges after VECO Corp. CEO Bill Allen testified that he'd given Kohring thousands of dollars and asked him to influence other legislators in support of then-Gov. Frank Murkowski's oil tax proposal.
After the prosecution of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens fell apart following allegations that Department of Justice prosecutors withheld crucial evidence, Kohring challenged his conviction claiming his conviction should be overturned as well, according to court records. Kohring was released from federal prison pending his appeal.
Wednesday, Judge John Sedwick ruled that in Kohring's case, the evidence would not have affected the trial's outcome.
Kohring argued that evidence of Allen's mental condition and a prostitution and child sex investigation of Allen would have helped him at trial.
Sedwick concluded Kohring's argument was undermined by the FBI's hidden video of Kohring soliciting and accepting bribes, including wads of bills from Allen and VECO lobbyist Rick Smith, in room 504 of the Baranof Hotel.
Kohring claimed at trial and in his appeal that the cash was a gift, and not a bribe.
"For anyone who might somehow entertain a lingering doubt about Kohring's guilt, there is Kohring's voice mail message to Smith left the next day in which he reported in some detail on what he had done to follow up on the plan to influence other legislators," Sedwick wrote.
The failure to disclose some information to the defense does not undermine confidence in the guilty verdicts, Sedwick wrote.
Sedwick allowed Kohring to remain free pending an anticipated appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Kohring posed neither a flight risk nor a danger to public safety, he said.
Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or email@example.com.
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