Friday, September 5, 2008

Mike Wooten, Palin's Ex-Brother-in-Law, Talks to CNN About 'Troopergate'

Mike Wooten, the Alaskan state trooper and former brother-in-law of Republican vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin, talked to Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston of CNN today regarding the allegations against him and the investigation into whether Palin had pressured his superior to have him fired.

Wooten denied the driving while drinking allegation, but admitted an error in judgment in a Tasering incident that involved his stepson.

"I made mistakes. I fessed up to them. I was punished appropriately, and I'm moving on," Wooten told CNN.

He said that he was a new Taser instructor, and his stepson was asking him about the equipment. "I didn't shoot him with live, you know, actual live cartridge," Wooten said.

Instead, he said, he hooked his stepson up to a training aid "with little clips. And, you know, the Taser was activated for less than a second, which would be less than what you would get if you touched an electric fence. ... It was as safe as I could possibly make it."

He said his stepson was on the living room floor surrounded by pillows, that he "was bragging about it," and that the family laughed about it.

Asked whether it was a dumb decision, Wooten told CNN, "absolutely."

He said that John McCain's choice of Palin as a running mate was "absolutely wonderful for the state of Alaska."

The investigation centers on whether Palin used her office to try to get Wooten fired. Eventually she dismissed Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, who had refused to fire Wooten. Palin has denied any wrongdoing. She has confirmed that her staff discussed Wooten with Monegan or members of Monegan's department, but she has said she never abused her power in the case or urged that Wooten be fired. Wooten, 36, had undergone a bitter divorce battle with Palin's sister.

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