SAIPAN - Rota Department of Public Works Resident Director Vanessa Charfauros has asked the court to dismiss the corruption charges against her.
Superior Court Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja scheduled a hearing for the motion to dismiss for Sept. 12 at 1:30 p.m.
He said Charfauros may appear telephonically from the Rota courthouse.
On Aug. 31, 2018, Charfauros, six other Rota resident directors and Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig were charged by the Office of the Attorney General with theft and misconduct in public office for spending government funds to attend a political campaign rally on Guam on June 23, 2018.
In June 2019, Assistant Public Defender Heather Zona, who represents Charfauros, asked the court to order the AG’s office to produce more evidence and documentation in connection with the charges filed against her client.
But the prosecutor, Assistant AG Robert Charles Lee, stated that the defendant did not address what evidence exists that she is not in possession of already.
“Now why would she be entitled to it despite the fact that the criminal procedures state that internal government documents —including reports, memorandum or other internal government documents — are deemed ‘information not subject to disclosure,’ ” Lee added.
He also opposed Charfauros’ request to have access to Department of Public Safety personnel files.
He asked the court to deny Charfauros’ request as she has not demonstrated why any of the notes or personnel records she is requesting are material to her defense.
Judge Naraja has not issued a ruling on Charfauros’ request, but he has granted the prosecutor’s request to continue the jury trial for the Rota officials on Jan. 13, 2020 at 9 a.m.
The other defendants 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.
With the exception of Mesngon, all defendants have pleaded not guilty. To settle the corruption charges, she has agreed to participate in an adult diversion program under the CNMI Adult Probation Office.
In federal court, Mayor Atalig and his girlfriend, Evelyn Atalig, were accused of arranging CNMI government-funded trips to California, Palau, Guam, and Saipan under fraudulent pretenses.
The superseding indictment charged the Ataligs with conspiracy, wire fraud, theft from a program receiving federal funds, and two counts of false statements.
District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has rescheduled the Ataligs’ jury trial for Oct.1. It was originally set for June 4.