Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Roundup of Recent News


1. Mine That Bird did not win the Belmont Stakes, but instead finished third in last Saturday’s final leg of the Triple Crown. The tough little bay-colored gelding apparently bought with money from the sale of VECO went off as a 6-5 favorite and looked good as the leaders made the final turn, but got beaten in the long home stretch by its half-brother Summer Bird.

Jockey Calvin Borel, so masterful in piloting Mine That Bird to an incredible upset in the Kentucky Derby and triumphant again aboard the filly Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness, perhaps let Mine That Bird go for the lead a little too early in the famously grueling 1.5-mile Belmont. Summer Bird went past Mine That Bird at the end to win, and Dunkirk came back to take second. Just like in politics, it’s critical when you make your move.

“I thought I was home free,” Borel said, “and the other horses galloped by.”

Mark Allen, the son of long-time VECO CEO Bill Allen and the specific beneficiary of a plea agreement his father made to give him immunity from prosecution, must still be pleased despite the failure of Borel to bring home the win in the latest race. Mark Allen bought Mine That Bird with a co-owner last fall for a reported $400,000. The thoroughbred was unknown and seemed to have terrible prospects six weeks ago when its trainer drove it to the first leg of the Triple Crown. Then the horse finished first in the Kentucky Derby, second in the Preakness, and third in the Belmont Stakes.

Hat tip: Associated Press and ABC-TV.

2. The two prosecutors who served—in the words of Legal Times—as the “point men on the ground in Alaska” for the Public Integrity Section in the public corruption probe have been quietly transferred out of that unit. The news came two months after the case against U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens collapsed after the jury returned guilty verdicts. Nicholas Marsh and Edward Sullivan—who between them were involved in investigations that brought convictions pursuant to trial or guilty plea of 11 defendants in the "POLAR PEN" investigations--got the word on Thursday, according to the Washington Post. There has been no word on where the two lawyers landed.

Department of Justice sources told the Washington Post that the decision to transfer Marsh and Sullivan had led to some grumbling among some of the Department’s attorneys, particularly because other attorneys central to the tainted prosecution of Ted Stevens were left in place. The newspaper reported that the sources said that it looked like lower-level lawyers were being made scapegoats by “new political appointees at the department who are now applying more rigorous standards on evidence-sharing practices than were in place before.”

3. Two of those defendants that Marsh and Sullivan helped put behind bars have gotten much closer to getting out, at least for a while. District Judge John Sedwick ordered the U.S. Marshals to bring ex-State Reps. Pete Kott (R.-Eagle River) and Vic Kohring (R.-Wasilla) to Anchorage, moving along a process that started with the Department of Justice’s announcement of newly found discovery violations in the trials of the two former state legislators. (That announcement came last Thursday, the same day Marsh and Sullivan learned they were being transferred.)

The question now is whether Kott and Kohring will get their convictions overturned or whether they will face new trials. Judge Sedwick will hold hearings on that question.

No comments: