Palin Won’t Testify in Trooper-Gate

Sarah Palin is unlikely to testify in the Trooper-Gate investigation, according to a spokesman for the McCain campaign.

Speaking at a press conference in Alaska last night, spokesman Ed O’Callaghan argued that the probe had become “tainted.” Palin’s lawyer, and Alaska GOP legislators, have pointed to public statements made by Sen. Hollis French, the Democrat overseeing the investigation — including that it could provide an “October surprise” — as inappropriately politicizing the probe.

Palin had initially pledged her cooperation with the probe. After lawmakers voted unanimously to investigate her firing of former public safety commissioner Walt Monegan, she said: “We have absolutely nothing to hide, and so certainly we would never prohibit or be less than enthusiastic about any kind of investigation. Let’s deal with the facts and you do that via an investigation.”

But in recent weeks, that cooperation has ground virtually to a halt. In early September, her lawyer asserted that Palin would not testify unless the investigation were transferred to the state personnel board, whose members are appointed by the governor.

French and Steve Branchflower, the indepedendent investigator, have ruled out subpoenaing Palin, but had still expressed the hope that she would testify voluntarily.

Todd Palin was subponaed Friday. O’Callaghan said he did not know whether Todd would challenge that subpoena, though in a letter sent last Thursday, the state attorney general’s office appeared to lay the groundwork for such a challenge.

The McCain campaign — now clearly running the show on Trooper-Gate damage control — also trotted out a new line to explain Monegan’s firing. It released emails suggesting that Monegan alienated the governor’s office by seeking federal money to go after sexual assault cases, even though the governor hadn’t agreed that the money should be sought.

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