Findings will be released next week, as scheduled…

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – An investigator hired by Alaskan lawmakers to probe abuse-of-power allegations against Gov. Sarah Palin was free to finish his work by a deadline set for a week from Friday after a state judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking to block the probe.

The investigation is looking into whether Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, and others pressured Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan to fire a state trooper who was involved in a contentious divorce from Palin’s sister, and then fired Monegan when he wouldn’t dismiss the trooper. Palin says Monegan was ousted over budget disagreements.

Judge Peter Michalski on Thursday threw out the lawsuit filed by five Republican state legislators who claimed the investigation had been manipulated by Palin enemies who wanted to produce a damaging report just weeks before Election Day. Their attorney, Kevin Clarkson, said the legislative body that ordered the investigation had exceeded its authority.

But Michalski agreed with defense attorney Peter Maassen, who argued that the Legislature has broad authority to investigate the governor. The mere appearance of impropriety does not mean any individual’s right to fairness was violated, Michalski wrote in his decision.

Any predictions on what they’ll find? My guess is that it won’t be good news for Palin, especially given the latest testimony from Murlene Wilkes.

I’ll have more next Friday.

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