Bruce Weyhrauch, a former Alaska state representative indicted on corruption charges in 2007, won a federal appeals court ruling preventing prosecutors from offering evidence at trial that he concealed a conflict of interest in seeking a job with an oil contractor.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a judge’s pre-trial order in Weyhrauch’s criminal case, citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June involving Jeffrey Skilling, Enron Corp.’s former chief executive officer, that limited some fraud prosecutions.
Under the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Skilling case, “nondisclosure of a conflict of interest is no longer a basis for prosecution,” the appeals court in San Francisco said today.
Weyhrauch, the former Republican state lawmaker, was indicted by a federal grand jury in May 2007 on bribery and conspiracy charges for allegedly seeking a job with Veco Corp., an oilfield-services company, in return for his support of oil tax legislation favored by the firm’s former owner, Bill Allen.
Weyhrauch’s attorney, Douglas Pope, said he was pleased with the appeals court ruling because the government had argued that court should allow the trial judge to decide the conflict of interest issue. Pope said in a telephone interview that he planned to seek dismissal of the case.
M. Kendall Day, an attorney at the Justice Department’s public integrity section, didn’t immediately return a voice-mail message seeking comment.
Weyhrauch’s trial, which had been scheduled to start Sept. 13, was postponed, according to court filings.
The case is U.S. v. Weyhrauch, 07-30339, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (San Francisco).
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