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    Sunday, October 20, 2019-8:11:12A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Rota DPW director in corruption case seeks documents from prosecution

DEPARTMENT of Public Works Rota Resident Director Vanessa Charfauros has asked the court to order the Office of the Attorney General to produce more evidence and documentation pertaining to corruption charges filed against her.

Charfauros, through Assistant Public Defender Heather Zona, said the AG’s office should produce 1) criminal record and legal statuses of witness(es); 2) Henthorn material including Internal Affairs records and any exculpatory information concerning law enforcement involved in the case; 3) all field notes and briefing notes of law enforcement concerning the case; 4) materials concerning performance goals and awards for law enforcement involved in this case which would include qualifications of law enforcement to investigate this type of case.

Zona is requesting an evidentiary hearing to determine the existence, availability and nature of any outstanding discovery.

She said “the requested evidence and information are material to the defense and disclosure would be neither unreasonable nor oppressive to the government, but will facilitate a fair and efficient and just disposition of the charges against the defendant.”

Zona said the prosecution has produced substantial amount of discovery but the requested materials and evidence are still outstanding.

At a status conference on May 24, Zona asked the government to respond to her discovery request, so that the defense would know whether there were additional materials to be produced.

She said the prosecution stated in response: “When we receive discovery, we produce it.”

The government is represented by Assistant Attorney General Robert Charles Lee.

Superior Court Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja for good cause shown has scheduled a hearing on Charfauros’s motion for June 20, 2019 at 1:30 p.m.

Charfauros’ co-defendants are Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig, Department of Labor Rota Resident Director Dexter Apatang, Department of Commerce Rota Resident Director Dean Manglona, Department of Finance Rota Resident Director Josepha Manglona, Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services Rota Resident Director Dennis Mendiola, Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Rota Resident Director Magdalena Mesngon and former Department of Public Safety Rota Resident Director Eusebio Manglona.

They were charged by the AG’s office with theft and misconduct in public office.

Except for Mesngon all defendants have pled not guilty.

Mesngon has agreed to participate in an adult diversion program under the CNMI Adult Probation Office.

The CNMI government is accusing the Rota officials of taking government-funded per diem and salary compensation to attend a Republican campaign rally held on Guam on June 23, 2018.

The Rota officials were also accused of performing illegal acts under the color of office.

In federal court, Mayor Atalig and his girlfriend Evelyn were charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, theft from program receiving federal funds and false statements.

The U.S. government accused them of arranging CNMI government-funded trips to California, Palau, Guam and Saipan under fraudulent pretenses.

Both pled not guilty and are on pre-trial release.