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Probe into Palin's firing of official unraveling

world Updated: Sep 18, 2008 13:35 IST
AP
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The abuse-of-power investigation of Alaska Gov Sarah Palin was unraveling, with most key witnesses refusing to testify, new legal maneuvering and heightened Republican pressure to delay the probe until after Election Day.

Palin initially welcomed the investigation, saying "hold me accountable," but she has increasingly opposed it since Republican presidential candidate John McCain tapped her as his vice presidential running mate.

In a reversal of position, a key Democratic lawmaker said on Wednesday he may convene the committee that is conducting the investigation into whether Palin dismissed her public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, when he would not fire a state trooper involved in a bitter divorce with her sister.

Some Republican members of the committee have asked for such a meeting, to consider delaying the probe or replacing Democratic state Sen Hollis French as its manager. The investigation's conclusions are supposed to be released by October 10.

The Legislative Council, made up of 10 Republicans and four Democrats, had unanimously approved launching the probe.

A lawyer for five Alaska Republican legislators suing for a delay of the investigation known as Troopergate said he will wait but not too long to see what the Legislative Council, a joint bipartisan oversight panel, does before asking a judge for an injunction.

The chairman of the council, Democratic state Sen Kim Elton, said he would poll other council members on whether to meet.

Elton has previously refused to call such a meeting before investigator Steven Branchflower issued his report. In a letter on Wednesday to House Speaker John Harris, Elton said circumstances had changed.