Alaska justices OK possible release of Troopergate report
Sarah Palin (R)
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Legal Newsline)-The Alaska Supreme Court has cleared officials to release to the public a much-anticipated report on the abuse-of-power investigation against Gov. Sarah Palin.
On Thursday, the state's high court rejected a last ditch appeal by a group of Republican lawmakers to block the report's release to the public. Today, the 14-member Alaska Legislative Council is expected to vote on whether to make the 263-page report public.
Investigators are probing whether Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, and several top aides pressured Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan to fire Trooper Mike Wooten, who was engaged in a bitter divorce and child custody dispute with Palin's sister.
Investigators are also probing whether Monegan's subsequent ouster was because he refused to fire Palin's ex-brother-in-law.
In addition to the report that could be made public, investigator Steve Branchflower has also prepared a separate report that is reportedly twice as large as his other. The larger volume is expected to remain confidential because it contains personnel information that cannot legally be released.
The emergency lawsuit heard by the Supreme Court was filed by the Plano, Texas-based Liberty Legal Institute and Anchorage attorney Kevin Clarkson. The Supreme Court heard arguments in the case Wednesday.
"The plaintiffs and Alaskans will suffer irreparable harm if the investigation at issue continues and if the resulting investigative report issues as planned on Oct. 10, 2008," a brief to the Supreme Court said.
In its two-page ruling in the case, the Supreme Court upheld last week's decision by Anchorage Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski, who found the Legislature has the right to investigate the allegations against Palin.
From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at email@example.com.