Prosecutor seeks one year for former Alaska state Sen. Cowdery

The Anchorage Daily NewsMarch 4, 2009 

Federal prosecutors on Tuesday asked that former State Sen. John Cowdery be sentenced to a year of home confinement and fined $25,000 for conspiring with oil industry executive Bill Allen to bribe another senator.

But Cowdery, due to be sentenced next week by U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline, pleaded that he should get the minimum punishment of six months and a much lower fine due to his failing health, long career in public service and business, and his agreement to admit guilt.

In a sentencing memorandum filed Tuesday morning, Cowdery's attorney, Kevin Fitzgerald, said he and the prosecutors are largely in agreement. The only two unresolved issues for the judge are the length of home confinement – six months or a year – and the amount of the fine.

Fitzgerald said the government told him that $25,000 is the amount at issue in the bribery allegation, so that should also be the fine. But Fitzgerald asked Beistline to fine Cowdery at the "lower end" of a range that starts at $2,000.

Cowdery also filed a stack of 27 letters from politicians, lobbyists, contractors, businessmen, friends and relatives asking for leniency. Most cite Cowdery's age and failing health – he's 79 and has been hospitalized for numerous ailments – and his 60-year life in Alaska as a contractor and legislator.

His daughter, Pam, added a letter of her own that she e-mailed to the Daily News and said she would deliver to Beistline at her father's sentencing. In it, she pleaded for leniency and suggested that Cowdery might not have offered up his guilty plea if he hadn't been in ill health.

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