McGuire accused of tampering in husband's bribery case

Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2007

State Sen. Lesil McGuire has been accused of threatening the wife of a former lobbyist, whose testimony helped convict McGuire's husband on federal bribery charges.

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Doug Pope, defense attorney for government witness Bill Bobrick, wrote in a court filing unsealed Tuesday that McGuire threatened the future employment of Bobrick's wife to influence his testimony against former state Rep. Tom Anderson.

Pope wrote that McGuire first contacted Bobrick by phone early this year hoping to reach his wife, Jessica Bury, who was in Minnesota attending medical school. The development was first reported Tuesday by the Alaska Public Radio Network.

"Bobrick understood the call to be a threat that, if he testified favorably for the government, Lesil McGuire would take steps to see that Jessica could not obtain her medical license," Pope wrote.

McGuire, an Anchorage Republican who hasn't been charged, told The Associated Press she never made a threat.

Early in the year, and not long after Anderson's December arrest, it wasn't unusual for McGuire to be in touch with the Bobrick family socially, she said.

"There was no threat; it did not happen," she said. "I would never do that. I never did that. Isn't this a brilliant move to shift the focus completely to someone else?

"Think about it. If you don't think that the government coming after my husband the way they did ... wouldn't they have come after me by now?"

Pope's court filing was part of a sentencing memo on behalf of Bobrick, a prominent former Alaska lobbyist who was sentenced Tuesday to spend five months in prison, followed by five months of home confinement for a single count of conspiracy in the federal bribery case.

Pope said he took threats seriously because of McGuire's position as a state senator and being the daughter of a prominent Anchorage orthopedic physician, Dr. David McGuire.

McGuire said her father has no sway with the Alaska Medical Board.

"He is a man of honor," Lesil McGuire said. "My father has nothing to do with any of this. How could I make that kind of threat when it couldn't be true because he was never in a position to do that?"

During the sentencing hearing for the 52-year-old Bobrick, prosecutor Joe Bottini told U.S. District Judge John Sedwick that he took it very seriously.

"She didn't come out and say, 'If you testify against my husband, your wife is never going to practice medicine in the state.' I can promise you that," Bottini said. "She didn't say that.

"It was veiled. But the contents of the communication that she delivered to Bobrick and his wife, that was the message, we believe, she sought to communicate to them."

The conversations were not taped, and the allegations were based on Bobrick's recollection, conveyed to federal prosecutors.

A lack of evidence held weight with Sedwick.

"I cannot place a great deal of stock in it," he said. "But I think it's worth considering. I question whether the threat is very credible."

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