Friday, September 26, 2008

Subpoenaed Palin aides don't appear at abuse probe

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Seven of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's top aides defied subpoenas for their testimony Friday into possible abuse of power by the governor.

Palin's chief of staff, Mike Nizich, and six other aides failed to appear at a legislative hearing into whether Palin abused her power when she fired her public safety commissioner this summer.

State Senate Judiciary Chairman Hollis French, a Democrat, waited 30 minutes Friday before reading a statement that the witnesses could be found in contempt when the full Legislature convenes in January and that the investigation would go on "in a simple search for the truth."

Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg filed a lawsuit on behalf of the seven state workers Thursday challenging the subpoenas. He claims the committee has no jurisdiction to issue subpoenas in the investigation and questions whether the investigation's overseeing body, the Legislative Council, had the authority to begin a probe.

Colberg, a Republican appointed by Palin, said in a news conference Friday that he never directed anybody to ignore subpoenas but advised the seven that they had two options: Show up and testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee or don't and join the lawsuit.........

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