Former state legislator Bev Masek says she shouldn't get prison time for her guilty corruption plea, blaming her failings on an overbearing husband, the retirement of her mentor in the Legislature, and her inability to fathom her elected office despite a decade in the job.
Masek is due to be sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline on her conviction of conspiracy to commit bribery. She admitted accepting $4,000 in 2003 from former Veco Corp. chief executive Bill Allen, an oil-field contractor. According to the charge, she begged for money from Allen and another Veco official, at one point killing a tax bill after Allen complained it would hurt his oil-industry clients, then collecting $2,000 for her effort.
In her bid for leniency, contained in a sentencing memo filed by her public defender last week, Masek argued against the suggestion of prosecutors that she be ordered to prison for 18 to 24 months, the standard sentence for her crime. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, but prosecutors said Masek shouldn't be considered for worst-offender status under federal sentencing guidelines.
"Beverly Masek has been an inspirational figure in Alaska," asserted Rich Curtner, her attorney. He cited her completion of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race four times, her graduation from high school in Anvik, and her election by Mat-Su voters as a Republican to the Alaska House for five terms.
But Masek was also "vulnerable" to the suggestions of others, Curtner said.
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