Attorney in DOC drug case apologizes after transcripts released

SWAT ESCORT: Former Department of Corrections Lt. Jeffrey Limo, front, is escorted by a SWAT team from the Guam Police Department Hagåtña Precinct Command on Aug. 24, 2017, after his arrest in an alleged prison drug-smuggling case. Post file photo

The release of grand jury transcripts in the drug conspiracy case involving several former Department of Corrections officers has the attorneys for one defendant fighting to show why they should not be held in contempt of the court.

Counsel for former DOC Lt. Jeff Limo filed a third motion for discovery on June 15 but attached the full transcript of the grand jury proceedings on the case.

Grand jury transcripts are supposed to be confidential.

Superior Court Judge Anita Sukola said local law states "grand jury transcripts are not public documents and their release is restricted to certain circumstances."

Sukola said the court became aware of the potential violation after a July 10 news report – not from The Guam Daily Post – detailed the grand jury transcripts. Limo's attorneys met with Sukola and prosecutors Thursday.

The judge issued a temporary gag order on the transcripts until a hearing is conducted to determine whether releasing the document was appropriate and why Limo's attorneys should not be held in contempt. The hearing is scheduled for July 18.

Limo is represented by attorney Jon Ramos, who signed the motion for discovery with the transcript attachments, and attorney Rawlen Mantanona. Both are from the Cabot Mantanona law firm. 

Attorney Gary Gumataotao, a candidate for the Office of Attorney General, appeared in Thursday's hearing to represent two reporters who were informed of potential sanctions should they violate the court's gag order.

The reporters are not parties in the case, he added.

Sukola initially issued a verbal gag order but said she would follow up in writing. The Post, as well as other media organizations on Guam, received the written gag order Thursday.

Limo was arrested along with 11 other individuals and indicted on contraband-related charges late last year. Among those implicated were six DOC officers and two maximum-security inmates.

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