Possible Smoking Gun in...ugh..."Troopergate"
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Gov. Sarah Palin sent e-mails to the state's top police official, criticizing Alaska State Troopers for their investigation of an officer who went through a bitter divorce with her sister, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
Former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan showed copies of the e-mails to The Washington Post. He didn't provide copies to the newspaper, but said he has turned copies over to an investigator probing the firing for the Legislature.
Monegan has said he felt pressured by Palin family members and her administration to fire Trooper Mike Wooten, whom they say threatened to kill Palin's father, among other accusations, all taking place before she became governor. Monegan was fired by Palin in July.
The Post reported on its Web site that the e-mails were sent from Palin's personal Yahoo account. In one, dated Feb. 7, 2007, it says of the investigation of Wooten: "This trooper is still out on the street, in fact he's been promoted."
"It was a joke, the whole long 'investigation' of him," says the e-mail, sent giving Monegan permission to speak before a bill being heard by the Legislature. "This is the same trooper who's out there today telling people the new administration is going to destroy the trooper organization, and that he'd 'never work for that b '," Palin'.)"
The second e-mail was sent July 17, 2007, discussing a bill before lawmakers that would prevent the mentally ill from having guns.
The e-mail says the first thought "went to my ex-brother-in-law, the trooper, who threatened to kill my dad yet was not even reprimanded by his bosses and still to this day carried a gun, of course."
Palin has strongly denied that Monegan's dismissal had anything to do with her former brother-in-law. She said she never pressured the commissioner to fire her sister's ex-husband and no one from her office had complained about Wooten.
Monegan has said he was never told directly to fire Wooten but felt pressured by members of the governor's family and administration.
There was no answer at Monegan's rural Anchorage home on Wednesday afternoon, and his phone rang unanswered.
Messages left by The Associated Press with the McCain campaign and with her office were not immediately returned.
The content of the e-mails surfaced as an aide to Palin refused to give a deposition to a legislative investigator reviewing Palin's firing of Monegan.
An attorney for Palin aide Frank Bailey questions whether the Legislature has jurisdiction to investigate Monegan's dismissal. The position taken by attorney Greg Grebe on Bailey's behalf echoes the argument by a lawyer hired by the state to defend Palin and her office in the investigation.
When the investigation was launched, Palin said she and her staff would cooperate fully with the investigation.
On Wednesday, Palin's lawyer, Thomas Van Flein, released a letter sent the previous day, asking the state to suspend the investigation until the question of jurisdiction is resolved.
If granted, it could delay announcing whether the investigator found that Palin abused her power in dismissing the commissioner. The results were expected Oct. 31, a week before the November election.
Van Flein on Tuesday also asked the state's personnel board to investigate the firing, trying to pre-empt the legislative investigation.
In 2005, before Palin ran for office, the Palin family accused trooper Mike Wooten of drinking beer in his patrol car, illegally shooting a moose and firing a Taser at his 11-year-old stepson. Palin and her husband, Todd, also claimed Wooten threatened to kill Sarah Palin's father. Wooten, who hasn't returned numerous phone calls left by The Associated Press this week, was suspended over the allegations for five days in 2006 but still has his job.
Palin was elected governor in 2006.
In July, the legislature launched a $100,000 investigation into whether Palin abused her power in firing Monegan.
Monegan has said no one told him directly to fire Wooten, but has said he felt pressure from Palin's family members, including her husband Todd, and administration to do so.
At the time Palin fired him, the governor said she wanted the department to move in a new direction. But later, after Monegan said he felt pressured to fire Wooten, Palin at a news conference said Monegan wasn't a team player, didn't do enough to fill trooper vacancies and battle alcohol abuse issues in rural Alaska.
Grebe said he expects Palin's attorney to file a court challenge to determine which agency has jurisdiction, perhaps as early as Thursday.
When he learned this, Grebe said he told Bailey not to keep his Tuesday evening appointment until jurisdiction could be determined by a judge or agreed upon by Van Flein and the Legislature's investigator, Stephen Branchflower.
"I can't choose one side or the other," Grebe said. "That's not our place to decide that. Normally courts decide disputes like that, so I'll wait to hear from them first."
Neither Van Flein nor Bailey, the director of boards and commissioners who is on paid administrative leave, could be reached Wednesday for comment.
Sen. Hollis French, an Anchorage Democrat overseeing the investigation, said Bailey is the first person who refused to testify.
"It slows down the work that Mr. Branchflower is doing," French said. "Steve went through a lot of trouble to set up this date.
"It's still premature to say the governor is not cooperating because Bailey has his own lawyer doing this."
Bailey was caught on tape questioning an Alaska State Trooper official why an officer who went through a bitter divorce with Palin's sister was still employed.
In the recorded conversation, Bailey said: "Todd and Sarah are scratching their heads, why on earth hasn't, why is this guy still representing the department? He's a horrible recruiting tool. ... You know, I mean from their perspective, everyone's protecting him."
Palin called the conversation "most disturbing" and "problematic."
At the time Bailey, a mid-level administrator, told The Associated Press that he was worried for the governor's safety and acted on his own without telling Palin or her family.
Grebe said Bailey plans to maintain his stance on what happened, but won't do so until a judge has ruled on the jurisdiction.
"He's going to say the same thing all along, that he overstepped his bounds and the mistake was made by him," Grebe said. "I'm hoping for one shot at this but only when somebody can show me they have jurisdiction for what they are doing."
Last edited by ReturnoftheMack
on Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
Jude Terror wrote:I'll vote for NPWFBH in the next election.
Outhouse Post #1,000,000:
Frag It wrote::smt117