Politics & Government

Ex-Alaska Reps Kott, Kohring free pending evidence review

Former legislators Pete Kott, looking trim, and Vic Kohring, his hair freshly styled and stubbly beard shaved off, said Wednesday they were relishing their freedom from prison after a judge confirmed their continued release without cash bond.

Their back-to-back hearings in U.S. District Court behind them, Republicans Kott, a former House speaker from Eagle River, and Kohring, elected six times from Wasilla, told reporters they were looking forward to going fishing and spending time with family and friends. Both said they planned to work, Kohring selling fireworks at a friend's stand in Houston and Kott in the family flooring business.

Kott and Kohring appeared to be in no danger of missing the Fourth of July – or Labor Day, for that matter – even if they eventually fail in their bids to get their 2007 corruption convictions voided and charges thrown out.

James Trusty, the prosecutor speaking for the new Justice Department team on the Alaska corruption cases, said in court that the government doesn't expect to complete its review of evidence in the case until July 31, an essential step before anything else can proceed.

Prosecutors are searching through FBI and attorney files going back at least to 2004, looking for evidence that should have been turned over to the defense before their trials.

Kohring's lawyer, John Henry Browne of Seattle, told reporters he's already gotten about 1,000 pages of such material in the last week or so.

"There was a lot of evidence that should've been turned over to us that pointed directly at his innocence," Browne said. He couldn't say why the evidence was relevant – a protective order prohibits him and Kott's lawyers from disclosing anything about it. Prosecutors were not talking publicly about the material either.

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