Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Attorney: Other officers not investigated

Guam Police Department officers, seated in orange from left, Mario Laxamana, David Manila and Anthony Quenga stare at former brothel owner, Song Ja Cha, left, prior to the court proceeding in connection with the Blue House case at the Superior Court of Guam during the Blue House trial last month.

Confidential documents in the Blue House case have revealed that more police officers allegedly had sex at the Tamuning brothel, according to defense motions filed in the Superior Court of Guam.
Somewhere within more than 1,000 pages of discovery documents are allegations that at least three more officers are connected to Blue House, and that another eight officers committed "misconduct or criminal activity," wrote defense attorney William Pole.

Pole represents Officer David Manila, a suspect in the Blue House case, and his newest motions seek to get his client out of jail and dismiss the case for "prosecutorial vindictiveness."
Pole argues that prosecutors have received allegations against many police officers in the Blue House case, but have chosen to prosecute only a few.

"The most troubling evidence against the government is that there are other officers accused of misconduct by the same alleged victims that have accused Officer Manila," Pole states in one of his motions. "There is no evidence that these officers have been charged or interviewed. ... The government has provided, in its own discovery, a list of officers who are accused of having sexual relations, taking favors or otherwise cannot account for why they spent time at Blue House."
Although the defense motions are part of the public court record, the discovery documents that they reference are confidential. Discovery documents are potential evidence that is only available to attorneys in the case. None of the officers who face allegations in the discovery documents have been identified in any public document.

During an interview with the Guam Blog yesterday, Pole said he didn't intend to endorse any of the allegations in the discovery documents. The goal of his motion was to show that prosecutors haven't treated all accused officers the same, he said.

"If I were to accuse 10 people, and I now charge three people, then I would need to explain why I didn't go and investigate the other seven," Pole said.

The Office of the Attorney General hasn't responded to either of Pole's motions. AG spokeswoman Carlina Charfauros declined to comment on the motions, saying that prosecutors plan to allow their response documents to "speak for themselves."

Manila is one of three police officers indicted in the Blue House case in late November.
The other two are Mario Laxamana and Anthony Quenga, and all three officers are accused of assisting the Blue House brothel, which was open from 2004 to 2008. Quenga and Manila also were charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, which can carry a life sentence.
Manila previously admitted to at least some involvement with the brothel.

In 2011, during a federal trial of brothel owner Song Ja Cha, Manila admitted in federal court that he once had sex with a Blue House employee after paying for a ladies drink. The officer also testified that he once "advised" an employee that she couldn't leave the lounge until she had paid off her debts to Cha.

During that same trial, Freda Eseun, a supervisor at Blue House, testified that officers named "Mario" and "Tony" frequented the brothel. Regardless, no police officers were fired, arrested or prosecuted for ties to the Blue House after the federal trial.

The three officers who currently face charges were arrested after a series of articles by the Guam Blog, which prompted the Guam Police Department to reopen the case.
In his motion to dismiss, attorney Pole argues that the prosecutors buckled to political pressure and public outcry. If the government had a legitimate reason to prosecute Manila, it should have happened years ago, Pole argued in the motion.

"The government must give an explanation on why it took so long to charge defendant Manila. The Office of the Attorney General knew about the federal investigation, the government knew about any alleged allegations against David Manila in 2008 and the government chose to file only after a media storm erupted," Pole wrote.

The motion to dismiss for prosecutorial vindictiveness isn't the only motion that seeks to end the Blue House case before trial.

Several other motions are pending before Judge Sukola, and the judge yesterday denied two other dismissal motions, which argued statute of limitations and failure to appear before a judge within 48 hours.

The Blue House case is set for jury selection on Jan. 2.  Follow the stories on Guam Blog.

No comments: