Newsweek: Palin Warned By Court To Stop DisparagingTrooper
Newsweek has examined the divorce records of Gov. Sarah Palin's sister and her husband, Mike Wooten, the trooper at the heart of the TrooperGate legislative investigation into whether Palin abused her power as Governor in firing public safety manager Walt Monegan.
The divorce case and ruling cited by Newsweek concerns Palin's conduct before becoming Governor, while she was a private citizen, but is relevant for providing another glimpse into the newly minted Vice Presidential candidate
The Court likened Palin's attacks on the trooper to a form of child abuse:
An Anchorage judge three years ago warned Sarah Palin and members of her family to stop "disparaging" the reputation of Alaska State Trooper Michael Wooten, who at the time was undergoing a bitter separation and divorce from Palin's sister Molly.
Court documents show that Judge Suddock was disturbed by the alleged attacks by Palin and her family members on Wooten's behavior and character. "Disparaging will not be tolerated—it is a form of child abuse," the judge told a settlement hearing in October 2005, according to typed notes of the proceedings. The judge added: "Relatives cannot disparage either. If occurs [sic] the parent needs to set boundaries for their relatives."
As the case continued to make its way through the court system, the Judge's concern grew:
In an order signed Jan. 31, 2006, which granted Palin's sister and Wooten a final divorce decree, Judge Suddock continued to express concern about attacks by Palin's family on Wooten. The judge even threatened to curb Palin's sister's child custody rights if family criticism of Wooten continued.
Newsweek sums up the current allegations against Palin while Governor:
Allegations that Palin, her husband Todd, and at least one top gubernatorial aide continued to vilify Wooten—after Palin became Alaska's governor and pressured state police officials to take action against him—are at the center of "Troopergate," a political and ethical controversy which has embroiled Palin's administration and is currently the subject of an official inquiry by a special investigator hired by the state legislature.
The trooper's conduct is not at issue here. Gov. Sarah Palin's actions are the ones under investigation and the issue is whether she or members of her staff used improper and undue influence.
We expect our elected officials not to use the powers of their office to advance a personal interest. The report should be out in October, and hopefully it will provide additional insight into whether Palin or her staff engaged in improper conduct.
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