A former Alaska lawmaker is citing new Justice Department guidance for prosecutors on discovery procedures in his effort to have his 2007 conviction on public corruption charges repealed, The Associated Press reported today.
In a motion for dismissal statement filed this week, a lawyer for former Alaska House Speaker Pete Kott cited new DOJ guidelines that encourage prosecutors to list all witness interviews and keep their rough notes. The lawyer, Sheryl Gordon McCloud, said the Alaska U.S. Attorney’s Office has yet to hand over items from a 2006 interview with ex-VECO Corp. chief Bill Allen, the AP said.
Allen was a key witness against Kott as well as ex-Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), whose conviction on public corruption charges was overturned last year after the Justice Department said it had mishandled potentially exculpatory evidence.
“[T]hat memo is based on existing law, and sets forth materials that government attorneys must seek out, review, and disclose,” McCloud wrote in the court filing. “It includes not just material from the U.S. Attorney’s files but from all those associated with the prosecution team, and it includes not just information memorialized in written statements but also evidence favorable to the accused that is transmitted in a ‘conversation.’ ”
Prosecutors in Alaska have admitted evidence was inappropriately withheld, but have said their actions didn’t cause any harm.
Kott previously asked Judge John Sedwick in November to toss his corruption conviction, arguing the same prosecutors withheld evidence in both his case and the Stevens trial.
Kott was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph Bottini and James Goeke, as well as former Public Integrity Section lawyers Nicholas Marsh and Edward Sullivan. A court-appointed counsel and the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility are probing the prosecutors’ handling of evidence in the Stevens case, which was thrown at the request of Attorney General Eric Holder.
The judge has several options. He could let the Kott conviction stand, dismiss it and order a new trial, or dismiss it with prejudice. He has not said when he will rule.
Kott was released from prison in June, after prosecutors said they did not hand over exculpatory evidence to the defense.