Possible Investigation of Criminal Witness Tampering in Troopergate!

20 10 2008

Well, well, well. Here’s yet another subplot in the saga that is Troopergate. Remember how witnesses, including state employees, Todd Palin and Sarah Palin herself agreed to cooperate fully with the Legislative investigation of Troopergate? If you don’t remember, it’s because that was beFORE August 29th, when Palin was selected to be John McCain’s running mate. It was a whole different world back then. That’s when this investigation made sense to Alaskans, and when we believed the word of our Governor. Now? Not so much.

Ten witnesses, including the Governor’s husband Todd, defied subpoenas to testify before the Legislative Council. When did this mysterious change of heart occur?

Once again, we need to rely on the courage and conviction of the bipartisan Legislative Council, and the likes of Representatives Les Gara to keep the Governor and her administration (including Attorney General Talis Colberg) honest. After the flock of McCain lawyers descended on our sleepy little hamlet, all the rules changed. Now, Les Gara and Audie Holloway want to know WHY. Good question.

ANCHORAGE — Today an Alaska legislator called on the State’s Attorney General to appoint an independent investigator to look into possible criminal witness tampering by McCain-Palin campaign staff in Alaska. Rep. Gara’s call came at the suggestion of the Director of the Alaska State Troopers, [Col. Audie Holloway], who called the potential of witness tampering matter “serious.”

But, as we know, these witnesses did eventually testify in writing, just days before the Legislative Council released the findings of Independent Investigator Stephen Branchflower. Does this make it all better? No.

Their later decision to submit to written questions, after failing to show up for their subpoenas, doesn’t cure this violation, or any criminal conduct by any person who attempted to induce those witnesses from showing for their subpoenas. Complying with the law after breaking it doesn’t excuse a criminal violation. If any person attempted to induce a witness to fail to show for a subpoena, that witness’ later cooperation, after failing to show for the subpoena, doesn’t cure the criminal conduct. (from attached letter to AG Talis Colberg from Rep. Les Gara)

Talis Colberg, who is under considerable public pressure to resign as Attorney General for how he handled these subpoenas, has something new on his list of things that won’t go away. Namely:

Alaska Statute 11.56.545 –

“(a)Tampering with a witness in the second degree: A person commits the crime of tampering with a witness in the second degree if the person knowingly induces or attempts to induce a witness to be absent from an official proceeding, other than a judicial proceeding, to which the witness has been summoned. (b) Tampering with a witness in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.

AS 11.56.540 has similar elements, and is a felony.
The ball is in the court of the Department of Law.

Letter from Les Gara to Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg: 10202008-witness-tampering-independent-investigator

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Criminal Witness Tampering in Troopergate?

24 09 2008

Alaksa State Representative Les Gara (D) of Anchorage, just released the following press release, plus a big stack of supporting paperwork. Another shout out to Les Gara, who has been fearless and forceful about speaking up in this matter.

Here’s the press release in its entirety, and a link below to the .pdf file of the supporting documents and criminal statutes for those of you who just love document digging!

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LEGISLATOR ASKS TROOPERS TO LOOK AT POSSIBLE WITNESS TAMPERING

Palin cooperation ended with VP nomination

ANCHORAGE — Today a State Representative called on the Alaska State Troopers to look into possible criminal witness tampering in the state’s bi-partisan legislative Troopergate investigation. Since Gov. Sarah Palin was named to the McCain ticket on Aug. 29, the McCain campaign has sent campaign workers to Alaska to obstruct this investigation.

“Until McCain campaign staffers flew to Alaska to stop this investigation, the Governor and her staff agreed to comply with what we all know is a bi-partisan investigation. After Aug. 29 the campaign started working to block this investigation, and witnesses began joining that effort by ignoring their subpoenas and risking jail time. Something obviously changed the minds of these witnesses after Aug. 29th,” said Rep., Les Gara (D-Anchorage), a State Representative and Former Alaska Assistant Attorney General.

Alaska’s witness tampering statutes prohibit any person from “inducing” a witness to fail to comply with a subpoena. Almost daily, McCain staffers have called press conferences and made efforts to stonewall the legislative investigation. Prior to Aug. 29 no witness had stated they’d refuse to comply with the investigation, and the Governor in fact promised she and her staff would comply.

Last week three witnesses, Palin Administration Officials Ivy Frye and Randy Ruaro, and Palin’s husband Todd, refused to show up for legislative subpoenas. Also, Attorney General Talis Colberg, whose office had agreed that another seven state employees would comply with the investigation, changed position and said they wouldn’t. Those seven witnesses have been subpoenaed and are scheduled to appear Friday before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees.

McCain operatives have spun this as a partisan investigation. The facts show otherwise. Both Committees voted for the subpoenas last week. Six Republicans and four Democrats voted in favor, and only two Senate members voted no. The investigation was started this summer before Palin was named to the McCain ticket, by a unanimous vote of eight Republicans and four Democrats.

The witness tampering statutes follow:

Alaska Statute 11.56.545 –

“(a)Tampering with a witness in the second degree: A person commits the crime of tampering with a witness in the second degree if the person knowingly induces or attempts to induce a witness to be absent from an official proceeding, other than a judicial proceeding, to which the witness has been summoned. (b) Tampering with a witness in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor. (Emphasis added).

AS 11.56.540 has similar elements, and is a felony.
Please see attachmed letter and statute for more details.
Click HERE for letter and statute.