ANCHORAGE - Former state Reps. Bruce Weyhrauch, R-Juneau, and Pete Kott, R-Eagle River, are maneuvering to have big chunks of the prosecution case thrown out of their corruption trial, scheduled to begin next Wednesday in Anchorage.
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Among the portions of the federal case they want dismissed: wiretap evidence, secret video recordings and statements by "unindicted co-conspirators," as the prosecution calls them.
Kott's and Weyhrauch's defense lawyers are filing court pleadings at a furious rate. Prosecutors, meanwhile, say at least part of the legal battle is too late, and that deadlines for such motions have already passed.
Magistrate Judge John Roberts on Friday ordered that no more documents in the case be filed under seal unless the lawyers first get permission from a judge.
Weyhrauch this week had filed his first request for permission to file a motion under seal. Weyhrauch also is trying to split his case apart from Kott's, though Roberts issued a 12-page recommendation against that Monday, saying the trials should remain linked. The trial is set to start next Wednesday.
Weyhrauch and Kott were indicted on a charge of conspiring with two VECO Corp. executives, Bill Allen and Rick Smith, and others on the rate for a new state oil tax. Both Allen and Smith have since resigned from oil field services company VECO.
In his 12-page recommendation, Roberts shed some light on the issues raised by Weyhrauch. Those issues include the spillover effect if the government has more evidence against Kott than it does Weyhrauch.
Frequently, that's the situation with co-defendants, Roberts wrote.
"The argument that Weyhrauch never became intoxicated, used foul language or was given a hat with the letters "CBC" (corrupt bastard's club) may serve to distinguish him from the actions of his co-defendant in the jury's assessment of the case," Roberts said.
Jurors, however, should be able to separate the evidence against each, and the judge may give special instructions along those lines, Roberts wrote.
Doug Pope, one of Weyhrauch's lawyers, said that despite Roberts' recommendation, his client's case still could be split apart from Kott's after the trial begins and evidence is admitted.
U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick ultimately will decide the issues.
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