Malia Litman, an attorney, had Officer Dave Parker just where she wanted him: on the phone, and apparently under orders to answer all question she put to him.
And then in a awesome display of lawyerly skill, she took him apart.
Parker, the department's public information officer, had written and disseminated a press release seemingly clearing Todd Palin of whoring by rebutting Shailey Tripp's allegation that Todd had paid her for sex. The New York Daily News then contacted Parker, who told the paper: "It was just guilt by innuendo, nothing else. There's not one scintilla of evidence that Todd Palin had anything to do with this."
Litman asked Parker why he wrote that press release. Because, he explained, Sarah Palin's lawyer had asked the department to send out such a press release if Todd was not mentioned in materials relating to Tripp's arrest. Items the police had confiscated during her arrest included office calendars, her laptop computer, and her cell phone.
Litman asked if Parker was aware that office calendars had been taken, and if he had reviewed them. No, Parker said, he was not aware that office calendars had been taken, and he had not review them.
She asked if he knew that Tripp's laptop computer and cell phone had been taken. Yes, he thought those items had been taken, but no, he had not checked them for information relating to Todd.
So what did you look at? Litman asked. "Dave Parker reviewed the records regarding the arrest that were readily available to him on his computer," is how she summed up his response. He also looked at a loose leaf notebook (but of course would not know if pages had been removed), and spoke with a member of the vice unit.
Let's reflect on this for a moment. Parker told the press "there is not one scintilla" of evidence that Todd had been involved with Tripp, but he had failed to look at her office calendars, her laptop and her cell phone, and he restricted himself largely to what was readily available on his computer.
Three possibilities can account for Parker's behavior:
1. He is so incompetent he did not realize that calendars, cell phones, and computers are where one would logically expect to find evidence of who the johns were that a prostitute had serviced.
2. He is such a fanboy of Sarah Palin that upon getting a request from her lawyer, his normal mental processes shut down and he robotically did everything in his power to help her.
3. Corruption exists at some level in the Anchorage Police Department.
Tilting the odds towards option 3 is the fact that the police have refused to return the laptop and cell phone to Tripp, in violation of the judge's order in June that they do so.
However, Shailey Tripp yesterday wrote at her blog: "Judge Washington has issued an order for APD to return my property and has given 10 days for them to respond. The order was dated Nov. 30, 2011."
I think we can take it as a given that Todd's name appeared somewhere in those calendars and electronic devices when the police confiscated them. It will be interesting to see if his name is still there if and when Tripp gets her property back.
It's also a good bet that Officer Parker engaged in a form of willful ignorance by not looking in the obvious places for evidence relating to Todd. And if that is the case, then he effectively lied in the press release he sent out and the interview he gave the Daily News.
The real question is: Did Parker engage in possibly corrupt behavior on his own account, or was he following orders?
Note to Ms. Karen L. Loeffler, United States Attorney, Anchorage Office, U.S. Department of Justice: If you won't investigate likely corruption in the local police department, to whom can the people of Alaska turn for justice?