Kohring, Kott appealing convictions

Posted: Friday, September 10, 2010

ANCHORAGE - Convicted Alaska state legislator Vic Kohring argues in his appeal the jury should have heard about a looming child sex investigation of the government's star witness, former Veco Corp. chief Bill Allen.

Kohring argues Allen was susceptible to pressure from prosecutors to testify because of the sex investigation.

The Anchorage Daily News reports Kohring, of Wasilla, and former House Speaker Pete Kott, of Eagle River, both include the sexual misconduct allegations against Allen as reasons their cases should be dismissed. Both have filed new appeals with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In separate trials in 2007, Kohring and Kott were convicted of conspiracy, bribery and extortion charges.

Allen's credibility was key to the prosecution case. Among other appeal points, the former legislators argue that jurors might have reached different verdicts if damaging information about Allen had been revealed during the trials.

Prosecutors shared details about Allen and underage girls with the legislators' defense lawyers only after the collapse of the 2008 conviction of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens. His case was thrown out for prosecutorial misconduct. Prosecutors generally are required to provide defense lawyers with evidence that could help their side but improperly withheld thousands of pages of documents before Kott and Kohring's corruption trials, the defense lawyers argue.

Now, with that previously undisclosed evidence in hand, both Kott and Kohring are pursuing appeals in which they seek to have their cases thrown out, or at the least, hearings on the new evidence. Kohring also argues that, at a minimum, he deserves a lighter sentence.

Kott was serving a six-year sentence in federal prison and Kohring was serving 42 months when they were released last year while their cases underwent further review.

U.S. District Judge John Sedwick, who presided over Kott and Kohring's trials, has since rejected their motions to have charges dismissed because of prosecutor missteps.

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