Nation & World

Alaska trooper's lawyer says Palin didn't interfere in comp case

A lawyer who represented embattled state Trooper Mike Wooten in his claim for workers' compensation benefits said he saw no evidence Gov. Sarah Palin's office interfered in the case.

Wooten, 36, the man at the center of the political storm known as "troopergate," hurt his back on Jan. 15, 2007, as he helped lift and carry a body bag containing a man's corpse through the snow. The man had died in a car crash at Mile 50 of the Parks Highway, an accident report shows.

Because of his injury, Wooten missed work and collected workers' compensation benefits totaling more than $11,000 between the date of the injury and mid-April of that year, say records the trooper's attorney released Wednesday with his client's permission.

Subsequently, a lawyer for the state challenged payment of further benefits, prompting Wooten to hire attorney Chancy Croft of Anchorage.

Ultimately, a settlement was reached that pleased Wooten, who has since returned to work, Croft said.

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