Tom Anderson says he accepts responsibility in bribery case

Lawyer says former lawmaker is seeking leniency in sentencing

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2007

ANCHORAGE - For the first time since facing federal corruption charges, former Anchorage Rep. Tom Anderson is publicly admitting he broke the law.

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The admission, made in a court filing on Monday, came a week before he is sentenced. Anderson, a Republican, had been found guilty this summer on conspiracy and bribery charges for taking money from an undercover FBI agent posing as an official from a private prison company.

"I accept full responsibility for the choices I've made and the damage I've done, and the damage here transcends the personal loss and pain that has been suffered by my wife and family," Anderson said in the sentencing memorandum.

Anderson didn't testify during the 10-day trial this summer, but insisted publicly that he was not guilty.

Prosecutors will be seeking about five to six years, as recommended by the probation office in its report, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Bottini told the Anchorage Daily News Monday.

"He put us through a trial," the prosecutor said. "In our view he is not entitled to any consideration for acceptance of responsibility."

Anderson's lawyer, Paul Stockler, said he is seeking "leniency, compassion and mercy." He said his client shouldn't be sentenced to any more than two years and nine months.

"As a result of his misdeeds, Tom Anderson was publicly disgraced, is now deeply in debt, and has lost his professional reputation, job, financial security, Alaska Permanent Fund dividend and right to vote," Stockler wrote.

Anderson was convicted of participating in a scheme in 2004 and 2005 with former Cornell Cos. lobbyist Bill Bobrick and consultant Frank Prewitt in which payments were funneled to him in exchange for his pushing the company's interests in the Legislature. Prewitt was working undercover for the FBI.

"Mr. Anderson believed at the time, that his actions were not in any way unlawful," Stockler says in the 47-page sentencing memorandum. "Rather, he erroneously and indeed naively thought that he could properly serve two masters: the people of the State of Alaska, and a private consulting client seeking to capitalize on access to a legislator."

Anderson, who has no prior criminal convictions, now realizes no one could do that, Stockler wrote.

The document also quotes letters of support from Anderson's friends, family and colleagues. His wife is state Sen. Lesil McGuire, and his father is former director of Alaska State Troopers.

In the memo, House Speaker John Harris, R-Valdez said he thought Anderson was a good legislator who had the best interests of Alaskans in mind.

Harris said Anderson got himself into a tough situation because he was "too naive or ill-prepared to recognize that politics and business are often comparable to a jungle."

Anderson's sentencing hearing is set for Monday before U.S. District Judge John Sedwick.

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