Two men plead guilty over calls to Sarah Palin lawyer

ANCHORAGE Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:30pm EST

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ANCHORAGE (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania father and son have pleaded guilty to making harassing phone calls to a lawyer for former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, court documents show.

Shawn Christy, 20, and his father Craig Christy, 48, each pleaded guilty during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Anchorage on Monday to a single count of making harassing interstate telephone calls, according to the court documents.

The Christys' guilty pleas came after an agreement with prosecutors that would have called for each to serve five years' probation rather than prison time was rejected U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess in December.

In rejecting that plea deal, Burgess said, he was concerned that the Christys seemed "undeterred" in their behavior.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Retta-Rae Randall said on Tuesday she would seek the same sentence as that proposed in the plea deal. But she said the judge will have the opportunity to impose his own sentence.

The maximum penalty for the felony of making harassing interstate telephone calls is two years in prison, Randall said.

According to court documents, prosecutors said the two made near-continuous and threatening calls to Palin attorney John Tiemessen, his law-firm colleagues and their family members

At the time they made their hundreds of phone calls to Tiemessen and his associates in August, the Christys were subjects of restraining orders that prohibited them from contacting Palin or her family members.

Tiemessen had represented Palin in those proceedings. Those protective orders were renewed in October.

Burgess has set a February 22 sentencing date. But in a motion filed Tuesday, the defendants asked for sentencing to be imposed during the week before then.

Shawn and Craig Christy have been held in jail since August, when they were arrested in Pennsylvania and then transferred to Anchorage.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Greg McCune)

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