Friday, September 25, 2009

Pete Kott's New Lawyer Throws a Bunch of Legal Dirt and Leaves a Big Mess


Pete Kott’s motion to dismiss based on previously undisclosed information was filed yesterday, and it is a doozy.

Other time commitments will keep me from doing a full analysis today of this 58-page pleading jam-packed with juicy allegations, so check back this weekend to get more. For now, you should know these bullet points:

1. The stuff the federal government was sitting on looks to be about as seamy as many speculated after the Department of Justice threw in the towel in the Ted Stevens case. Kott’s motion claims that the feds knew that long-time VECO CEO Bill Allen was extremely concerned about being prosecuted for having sex with underage girls. The filing contends that the 72-year-old former tycoon had good reason to be concerned about his criminal exposure, given evidence that he had sex with multiple underage girls as young as 14, at least one of whom he allegedly transported across state lines for purposes of prostitution. There are salacious allegations galore (“CHILD VICTIM 3 was part of a threesome with Allen and CHILD VICTIM 2 at age 16.”)

Setting aside the sheer cringe factor of some of the acts described, the legal relevance of this material comes from the argument that the feds should have disclosed to the defense before trial the evidence of Allen’s alleged crimes to the defense--as well as Allen’s attempts to cover them up--so that the defense could argue to the jury that Allen was shading his testimony against Kott to try to avoid prosecution for sex crimes.

2. This is less tabloidy, but more important legally: Some of the alleged acts of some of the prosecutors involved make them look very bad, at least at first blush. Particularly problematic are allegations that prosecutors suppressed evidence that cast doubt on some of their key contentions at trial.

3. Three good journalists at the Alaska Dispatch were the first to publish a story on this pleading, and they deserve congratulations by name. Their article can be found at on the Internet. Jill Burke, Tony Hopfinger, and Amanda Coyne have all done fine work previously in covering the “POLAR PEN” federal investigation into Alaska public corruption. Hopfinger is so close to the story--particularly the hooker angle--that he is even mentioned in Kott’s motion to dismiss as affecting the way the FBI handled Allen. The motion contends that FBI Special Agent Mary Beth Kepner would pass on to Allen information about Hopfinger’s upcoming coverage of Allen’s alleged sexual involvement with minors as a way to prepare the VECO chieftain.

4. Kott’s attorney—Sheryl Gordon McCloud of Seattle—did a bang-up job on this motion, and this filing makes a sticky situation even stickier for the Department of Justice.

More to come.

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