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Palins' depositions set for Friday

Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband are scheduled to give dispositions Friday in a second investigation into whether she violated Alaska ethics law by firing the state's top public safety official.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Gov. Sarah Palin, already found by one investigation to have abused her power, will take time from her campaign for vice president Friday to give a deposition in a second inquiry into her firing of the state's top public safety official.

It will be the first deposition in the affair by the Republican vice presidential candidate. She wasn't subpoenaed to answer questions in an investigation by the state Legislature, though her husband, Todd, gave an affidavit in that probe.

The Legislature's investigator, former Anchorage prosecutor Stephen Branchflower, found that Palin violated ethics laws in attempts to get her former brother-in-law, a state trooper, fired. The trooper, Mike Wooten, had gone through a contentious divorce with Palin's sister. But Branchflower found Palin was within her right to fire Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan.

Monegan had said he was fired for refusing to fire Wooten, but Palin has denied that. She said she fired Monegan over budget disagreements.

The Palins' attorney, Thomas Van Flein, said Tuesday that the governor and her husband will both give depositions Friday afternoon outside the state, but he declined to say where. She is on the campaign trail as Republican John McCain's running mate. McCain-Palin campaign spokesman Taylor Griffin said Palin's Friday schedule has not been released.

These depositions are part of an investigation by the Alaska Personnel Board, which has hired independent counsel Timothy Petumenos. Van Flein said he expects each interview to take up to three hours.

Unlike the Legislature, the personnel board is an agency of the state's executive branch and its officials can be fired by Palin.

Palin has said it was up to the personnel board to investigate her actions, not state lawmakers. Palin agreed to cooperate with the board's investigation.

A bid by five Republican state legislators to shut down the Legislature's investigation was rejected by the Alaska Supreme Court.