According to the Troopergate report authored by independent investigator Stephen Branchflower, Governor Palin and husband Todd Palin, as well as numerous other Alaska state officials, engaged in a coordinated effort to pressure Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan to fire State Trooper Mike Wooten, who had been in an acrimonious divorce and custody battle with Palin’s sister Molly, writes Salon.
The day Molly filed for divorce in April 2005, Sarah’s father, Chuck Heath, accused Wooten of various offenses, including illegally killing a moose, using a low-charge taser on his stepson, and drinking a beer while driving a squad car. A police administrative board investigated the charges in 2006, and Wooten was disciplined but not fired, which enraged the Palins. Before she was elected governor, Palin called a high-ranking police official, asking how it was possible that Wooten had not been fired and urging her to take the charges seriously.
Once Sarah Palin took office in early 2007, her husband Todd began agitating for Wooten’s firing. According to the head of her security detail, the self-described “First Dude,” or the “First Gentleman” as the report calls him, spent about half his time sitting at a long conference table in Gov. Palin’s office. His main, and as far as one can tell from the report, sole occupation: to get Wooten axed.
“I had this kind of ominous feeling that I may not be long for this job if I — if I didn’t somehow respond accordingly,” Monegan told Branchflower. But as a career law enforcement officer, Monegan was uneasy with what he was being nudged to do. “I certainly believe in rules and regulations and laws and whatnot. And there is a certain part that you will not step over,” Monegan said.
The sorry saga hit surreal bottom in May 2008, when Monegan, preparing for a Police Memorial Day celebration, dropped off a color photograph of a state trooper for Palin to autograph. Unbeknownst to him, the trooper was — Mike Wooten. A furious Palin canceled her appearance at the event and sent her lieutenant governor in her place.
The photo incident may have been the last straw, for Monegan was soon gone.
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