Opinion

Commentary: Justice Dept. made right move on Kott, Kohring

The U.S. Justice Department has refused to dismiss charges against former Alaska Reps. Pete Kott and Vic Kohring. That's good news, from the perspective of the public good.

Despite the department's admission that it broke court rules on disclosing evidence favorable to the defendants, there remains plenty of evidence — some of it on video — supporting the convictions of Kott and Kohring for taking bribes.

With the Kott and Kohring cases on appeal, the Justice Department asked for the convicted men to be released from prison until a decision was made on whether their trials had been tainted. That was the right thing to do.

U.S. District Judge John Sedwick told prosecutors and defense attorneys to come up with a plan about how to proceed. They haven't been able to agree, so now it's up to the judge. He could rule that prosecutors' actions weren't a breach or didn't harm the defendants; if so, he could send them back to prison. If he decides the prosecutors' actions did harm the defendants' chances for a fair trial, he could order a new trial or dismiss the charges.

That's Judge Sedwick's call to make. Until he does, federal prosecutors should pursue their cases based on the evidence — all the evidence. That's the way to make sure they do justice by the people of Alaska.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.

  Comments