Confirmation hearing for Palin's AG pick Ross testy at times

State lawmakers on Wednesday grilled Gov. Sarah Palin's appointee for state attorney general, Wayne Anthony Ross, as Ross defended past controversial statements and said he believes that former state legislator Vic Kohring is innocent despite an Anchorage jury convicting him of corruption.

Wednesday was the first day of confirmation hearings for Ross, with the Legislature scheduled to vote April 16 on whether he should be the state's new attorney general.

"Nobody ever accused me of tippy toeing around the issues. Now I'm asking for this job of advocating for Alaska, for the state that I love almost as much as I love my wife," Ross said.

Ross was the original defense lawyer for Kohring, whom federal prosecutors accused of taking bribes when he represented Wasilla in the state Legislature. Ross maintained at the time that Kohring was innocent, and said Wednesday under questioning from Senate judiciary committee members that he still believes that's true, despite a jury in Anchorage federal court finding him guilty. Kohring was sentenced last year to serve three–and–a–half years in prison.

"Vic's main problem was that he was naive," Ross said.

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