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Jury selection in trial of Rota mayor continues today

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THE jury selection in the trial of Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig, and co-defendant Evelyn Atalig will continue today, Thursday.

On Wednesday afternoon, District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona  asked prospective jurors whether they have any relations to former Secretary of Finance Larissa Larson and or other witnesses whose names and photos were displayed in the courtroom.

The defense also asked prospective jurors the following questions:

  • Based on what you read in the newspapers or social media or see on television, do you believe Mr. Atalig is guilty?
  • Do you understand this case is not about the Governor? That Mr. Atalig is not charged with any criminal conduct associated with the Governor? Nor with Imperial Pacific International?

The prosecutors, for their part, wanted to know if the prospective jurors are affiliated with any political campaign and whether they can set aside that experience and/or their political views and decide the case solely on the evidence presented.

The Ataligs have been charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, theft from program receiving federal funds, and two counts of false statements.

 According to the prosecution, the defendants arranged CNMI government-funded trips to California, Palau, Guam, and Saipan from Feb. 2018 to Aug. 2018.

Mayor Atalig is represented by attorney David Banes while Evelyn Atalig is represented by attorney Steven Pixley.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eric O’Malley and Garth Backe are prosecuting the case.

 

 

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