It looks like the special investigator in the Trooper-Gate case — in which John McCain’s surprise VP pick Sarah Palin stands accused of trying to fire a state trooper who had been embroiled in a bitter divorce proceeding with Palin’s sister — could soon uncover exactly what happened.
State Senator Hollis French, a Democrat and the chair of the bipartisan Senate committee overseeing the investigation, told TPMmuckraker that the independent investigator assigned to the case, Steve Branchflower, has contacted the Governor’s office about having her deposed, and has received a response. French said that Palin’s deposition would likely take place in the next few weeks and will almost certainly be under oath. “I think that’s best,” he said. French added that Branchflower does not expect to have to subpoena Palin, as her office has been cooperative thus far.
But that co-operation appears to have extended only so far. Her office has claimed executive privilege on emails requested by the state trooper’s union in a separate civil suit*. But several Alaska lawmakers told TPMmuckraker Friday that those claims likely won’t stand up, and that Branchflower should get access to the emails should he force the issue.
Palin had at first denied that her office was involved in the effort to have the trooper fired, but was forced to retract those denials when taped evidence emerged that a staffer in her office was involved.
French said he expected that Branchflower would play things pretty close to the vest with his probe, so we may not learn what he’s found until he wraps things at the end of October — just days before the election.
* This sentence has been clarified from an earlier version .