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    Friday, October 18, 2019-3:33:27P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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AG’s office asks court to reschedule trial of Rota mayor, resident directors

ASSISTANT Attorney General Robert Charles Lee has asked the Superior Court to reschedule the trial date for Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig and resident directors for Jan. 2020.

Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja has set the jury trial for Sept. 9, 2019, but Lee said he is making the request because of another jury trial — a first-degree murder case — in which he is also the prosecutor.

Lee said the murder case — CNMI vs. Alfonso Sebastian Parongan — may take several weeks to complete.

According to the prosecutor, in the case against the Rota officials, the defendants and their attorneys have no objection to his request except for Assistant Public Defender Heather Zona, who represents Rota Department of Public Works Resident Director Vanessa Charfauros.

Zona objected on speedy trial grounds, but the other attorneys for the defendants have no schedule conflicts in Jan. 2020, Lee said.

Judge Naraja scheduled a hearing for June 20 at 1:30 p.m. on the government’s motion. The hearing will be held on Saipan, but the defendants are allowed to appear telephonically from Rota.

The co-defendants of Charfauros and Mayor Atalig are 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 for taking government-funded per diem and salary compensation to attend a Republican campaign rally held on Guam on June 23, 2018.

Except for Magdalena Mesngon all defendants have pled not guilty. She has agreed to participate in an adult diversion program under the CNMI Adult Probation Office.