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Jury trial for former Retirement Fund exec director Luatua Ta'afua is set for July 23

He is facing 20 charges for allegedly misusing $100K of Retirement Fund money

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Trial Division of the High Court, along with attorneys from both sides, are now prepared to move forward with the jury trial for the former Executive Director of the American Samoa Government's Employees' Retirement Fund.

This was finalized yesterday when Luatua Filisouaiga Ta’afua's case was called before Acting Associate Justice Elvis P. Patea.

Associate Judges Mamea Sala Jr and Tunupopo Faleafaga accompanied Patea on the bench.

Ta’afua’s jury trial is set for July 23rd.

Assistant Attorney General Christy Dunn appeared on behalf of the government while Gwen Tauiliili-Langkilde is representing Luatua, who was not present when his case was called yesterday.

Patea granted Tauiliili-Langkilde's verbal request to waive having her client in court, because yesterday's hearing did not require him to be present.

Patea then acknowledged that the court has received the defense's motion for a Bill of Particulars.

Tauiliili-Langkilde told the court that they are on the same page with the government, regarding most of the information and charges against her client. However, for counts 14 and 15, the discovery the government has presented does not help in identifying these charges.

She went on to say that with respect to counts 16, 17 and 18, it's understood that those charges are referring to the $35,000 the government alleges is the amount that reflects the aforementioned 3 counts.

However, the police report and other discovery the government presented do not help to identify counts 14 and 15. It only adds another layer to her client’s case.

Patea reminded the defense attorney that the final 20 counts against her client are based on the court's decision. He said 4 counts are now combined into 2 counts.

“As long as you have all the information the government filed along with all discovery and police report, then, the court is satisfied that this case is now prepared for trial,” Patea said.

Luatua, who is out on bond, was hit with 20 charges in April 2016 for allegedly misappropriating more than $100,000 of Retirement Fund money, while he was serving as the ASGERF executive director.

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