Pete Kott's retrial request denied

Former lawmaker scheduled for Dec. 7 sentencing

Posted: Friday, November 09, 2007

ANCHORAGE - A federal court judge on Thursday denied a request for a retrial in the corruption case against former state Rep. Pete Kott.

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Kott's attorney, Jim Wendt, had asked the U.S. District Court to reconsider the former lawmaker's Sept. 25 conviction. Kott was convicted on charges of extortion, bribery and conspiracy to solicit financial benefits.

Wendt asked for either an acquittal or a retrial. Both requests were rejected.

Kott is scheduled for a Dec. 7 sentencing.

At the center of Wendt's argument was what he called a paradox on the conspiracy charge. He said Kott was convicted of conspiring to extort money from the very people that he was conspiring with: former VECO Corp. executives Bill Allen and Rick Smith.

Wendt also argued that Kott had had been convicted of taking "illegal campaign contributions," rather than bribes.

Federal prosecutors argued this was untrue and urged the judge to reject Kott's call for a new trial.

Prosecutor James Goeke, an assistant U.S. attorney with the Department of Justice's Public Integrity Sections, had said the prosecution had provided evidence the payments were bribes, not campaign contributions. Prosecutors said Kott knew what he was doing when he accepted money in exchange for taking action as a legislator.

Kott, a former House speaker, represented Eagle River when he served as a lawmaker. He was first elected to the Legislature in 1992 and was defeated in the 2006 Republican primary. He now lives in Juneau.

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