Sorry to interrupt the Republican “Non-Implosion is Victory” party, but there was some breaking news in Anchorage tonight that came out a couple minutes before the debate.
An Anchorage judge today refused to halt the Legislature’s investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin and denied the state attorney general’s attempt to throw out legislative subpoenas.
Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski heard arguments from both sides this morning and ruled just before 5 p.m. this afternoon.
“I think it’s great. It’s a big day for the state of Alaska,” said Peter Maassen, the lawyer representing the Legislative Council, which ordered the investigation.
Maassen said he expected the other side to attempt a last-minute appeal to the state Supreme Court.
It’s last-minute because the investigator hired by the Legislative Council, Steve Branchflower, is to present his report in a week. Branchflower is looking into Palin’s dismissal of her public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, and whether she improperly pressured him to fire a state trooper divorced from her sister. There is intense national interest in the outcome now that Palin is the Republican nominee for vice president.
Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg said he didn’t know whether he’d appeal or if he’ll now advise the subpoenaed state officals to cooperate with the investigation. He said he needed to consult with them.
“I’m going to talk to the clients before I talk to you,” he said.
Five Republican state legislators sued to stop the investigation, and Colberg, a Palin appointee, asked the judge to throw out the legislative subpoenas. The governor’s husband, Todd, and nearly a dozen state officials have refused to honor the subpoeanas ordering them to testify, and they face the threat of possible jail time.
Thomas Van Flein, the Anchorage attorney representing both Todd and Sarah Palin, watched the court hearing today. He said in an interview afterward that, if the judge refused to throw out the subpoenas, he would expect Todd Palin to testify after all.
“Short of appeal to the Alaska Supreme Court, which no one has talked about, I don’t see why we wouldn’t just have Todd testify,” he said.
The plot thickens…