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THE NATION

7 Palin aides to testify in trooper investigation

October 06, 2008|Matt Apuzzo | The Associated Press

ANCHORAGE — Seven aides to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin have reversed course and agreed to testify in an investigation into whether the Republican vice presidential nominee abused her power by firing a commissioner who refused to dismiss her former brother-in-law.

There is no indication, however, that Palin or her husband will testify in the legislative inquiry, which has dogged her for several months and could hurt John McCain in the final weeks of the presidential race.

Palin is the focus of the investigation into her firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan a year after she, her husband and key advisors began questioning him about getting rid of a state trooper who had divorced her sister.

Monegan says he was dismissed because he wouldn't fire the trooper. Palin contends that Monegan was dismissed for insubordination on budget issues.

Lawmakers subpoenaed the seven state employees, but they challenged the summons. After a judge rejected the challenge last week, they decided to testify, Alaska Atty. Gen. Talis J. Colberg said Sunday.

Democratic state Sen. Hollis French, who is managing the probe, said he again asked Palin and her husband, Todd, whether they would testify.

"We've had no response," French said.

Palin says the legislative inquiry has become too political; she believes the state's personnel board should investigate the firing. Todd Palin has agreed to speak with investigators for that panel but not for the legislative inquiry.

The governor has the authority to fire members of the personnel board.

Alaska's Supreme Court is considering whether to block the findings of the legislative inquiry. The court scheduled arguments for Wednesday.

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