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ANCHORAGE, ALASKA-U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline ruled on Friday that the corruption trials of former House Speaker Pete Kott, and former Representative Vic Kohring will remain in the state and in fact will be held in Fairbanks.
Pete Kott is the former Republican Representative who served Eagle River for seven terms and former Speaker of the House, who was convicted of conspiracy to solicit financial benefits, extortion, and bribery.
Vic Kohring is a seven term Republican Representative from Wasilla. He was convicted of bribery, extortion, and conspiracy.
The long road to a second trial for these two Republican ex-Representatives has seen new prosecutors, defense lawyers and new judges and now has a new venue. Requests for their new trials to be held out of state has been denied.
Judge Beistline said that it would be possible to find fair juries in Anchorage but also said that points put forward by defense attorneys were not without merit, mainly because of the post-trial publicity. Beistline pointed out that the defendants were not well-known in the northern city of Fairbanks, had never been tried there before, and so jury selection could proceed there without great difficulty.
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