Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen appeared in person Wednesday at the KGVO studios to answer questions from listeners on a variety of topics.

Knudsen first provided breaking news on the guilty verdict against Lloyd Barrus for the execution style slaying of Broadwater County Deputy Mason Moore on May 16, 2017.

“The trial just wrapped up yesterday,” said Knudsen. “Closing arguments were yesterday morning, and I'm very pleased to let people know if they haven't already heard that we got a guilty verdict after a little more than two and a half hours of jury deliberation which is fantastic. Now he is going to face sentencing but he was found guilty of deliberate homicide by accountability.”

One listener asked Knudsen about the Afghan ‘humanitarian parolees’ that will be settled in the Missoula area in the next few weeks.

He said the vetting process must be thorough to ensure that Missoula residents are safe.

“My wife used to do federal background investigations, I mean, in-depth federal background investigations for anybody with a security clearance in the federal government, so I have a pretty good idea of how vetting works,” he said. “And just how in depth that is, when we go about actually doing a background check on somebody, because we're being told that these people coming from Afghanistan, have been vetted, they've been vetted, they've been vetted. But when you dig into that you find out they really haven't.”

One caller took Knudsen over his recent comments that the now-cancelled Keystone XL Pipeline would have kept gas prices low, even though the pipeline had never been built.

“We are asking our oftentimes adversarial allies ‘Please Sir, may we have some more,’ ‘give us some more oil OPEC, give us some more oil countries that hate us. Please produce more because it's icky here and we don't want to deal with it here’. Pipelines absolutely have an effect, and if that thing (the Keystone XL Pipeline) would have gone through, it would absolutely have kept gas prices down.”

Knudsen wrapped up the hour-long conversation with his continuing efforts to combat the plague of methamphetamine coming into Montana from the southern border.

“There's lots of other stuff going on in Montana,” he said. “I mean, methamphetamine and crime is still my main focus at the Department of Justice, and it’s not just my focus, that's our overall focus. Crime is still up. Drug use is still up. We've got a tremendous methamphetamine problem coming out of the southern border, and I know it's being felt here in Missoula County. We are we are doing our level best to get more cops out there, and more canines out there and try to interdict this stuff.”

Knudsen is the former Roosevelt County Attorney.

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