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Federal trial of Samoa on passport charge moved to later this year

U.S. Federal District Court House, Honolulu, HI

Honolulu, HAWAII — The federal court in Honolulu has granted the request by a Samoan man, charged by federal indictment with one count of making a false statement on a U.S passport application, to move his trial to later this year.

Vai Salamasina Taula Fetuli — aka, “Vai Doc Taula” — is accused of willfully and knowingly making false statements on an application for a passport with the purpose to induce and secure for his own use the issuance of a passport, contrary to the federal laws regulating the issuance of passports. 

U.S District Court Judge Jill A. Otake in granting Fetuli’s motion noted that counsel for the defendant has indicated that there are ongoing efforts by the parties to arrive at a pretrial resolution of this case, but that defendant “needs additional time to mitigate possible collateral consequences that a guilty plea may have on him.”

As a result, defense counsel needs additional time to adequately prepare and that the federal government does not object to the defense request.

Jury selection and trial is now set for Oct. 17 before Otake, while a final pretrial conference is scheduled for Sept. 19.

The federal indictment alleges that the defendant, on Sept. 21, 2020 in Hawaii, had stated in the passport application that his name was “Vai Doc Taula”, along with his birthday —  for which the year is ‘exed’ out in the indictment — and that he was born in Los Angles.

Furthermore, the defendant claims that his parents were each a “U.S. Citizen” a statement he knew was false, the indictment said, but provided no other information on where the defendant or his parents were born.

As previously reported by Samoa News, Fetuli was released on an unsecured bond of $25,000 along with several conditions.