The verdict is in and former Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority Commissioners David Sablan, Cecile Suda and Roland Selvidge have been found not guilty.
The verdict came Thursday afternoon – within a day of the jury's start of deliberations. It came swiftly compared to the monthlong trial that ran throughout October.
Chief prosecutor Basil O'Mallan did not make a statement following the verdict. He did not comment on how the verdict might affect cases for Deanne Torre, Rosie Ann Blas and John Ilao, three other former commissioners who have separated from the main case.
However, Jay Arriola, counsel to Torre, said he expects his client's charges would be dismissed.
The "chief prosecutor has stated he does not intend to pursue the charges against my client, Deanne Torre, if others are acquitted," Arriola said.
"We expect him to remain true to his word and we anticipate a motion to dismiss with prejudice. The case against Mrs. Torre is nearly identical to the case against Sablan, Suda and Selvidge. It would be in the interests of justice to dismiss the claims against her," he added.
Sablan, Selvidge and Suda faced conspiracy charges. Sablan was also charged with violating the Open Government Law and official misconduct. All were misdemeanors.
The prosecution focused on two incidents: a meeting on Dec. 26, 2011, alleged to have been conducted in secret, where a decision was made regarding low-income housing tax credits, and a poll vote in April 2015 related to a credit card policy and travel for Selvidge.
Sablan was charged in both events while Selvidge faced charges related to the April 2015 event. Suda faced charges related to the December 2011 meetings.
During closing statements on Wedenesday, O'Mallan called the forward commitment of 2012 tax credits the "smoking gun" in his case. That matter had not been discussed before, appeared to have come up suddenly, and was circumstantial evidence of a prior illegal meeting, according to the prosecutor.
The defense argued that commissioners were engaging in a review of a project when they met on Dec. 26, 2011, that no vote actually took place, that the prosecution failed to specify an overt act with regard to conspiracy charges and that the commissioners were ultimately relying legal advice from their attorneys.
After the verdict was handed on Thursday, Sablan, who faced most of the charges, said he did not believe the GHURA case would waiver people's trust in government officials.
"When they serve, they're supposed to be good public servants ... There may be some problems with some boards and commissions but let the law enforcement agencies take care of that," he said.