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FBI agent, local businessman testify in Solofa case

fili@samoanews.com

FBI agent Andrew Gaddy and Pacific Products president Oscar Mayer were the first two federal government witnesses to testify in the trial of former local Department of Education official Paul Solofa at the federal court in Washington D.C.

The two witnesses testified Wednesday, the first day of the trial after a 12 member jury and two alternates were selected Tuesday. Presiding over the trial is U.S. District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton.

This is the same judge who presided in the Faoa-Tulifua trial in 2010.

According to federal electronic court records, Mayer’s testimony continued Thursday followed by testimony from former supervisor of the local DOE bus division Gustav Nauer and then David House. The trial resumes Monday with Friday a day off. (No information available yet on House’s role in this case)

Solofa is charged with obstruction of justice and witness tampering and the charges stems from his role in the spare parts school bus scheme at the time he was  head of the DOE business office several years ago. His alleged co-conspirators in the scheme are Nauer and Mayer, according to prosecutors.

While Mayer has yet to be charged in this scheme, Nauer has already pled guilty at the federal court in Honolulu and is scheduled to be sentenced in March.

Meanwhile, prosecutors have again asked the federal court to preclude a defense argument or admission of evidence on the prior cooperation of Solofa with the federal government in an unrelated criminal investigation as evidence of his lack of intent to obstruct the criminal investigation in the bus parts fraud scheme. The court has yet to rule on this request by prosecutor.

The unrelated criminal investigation dealt with the U.S. Justice Department’s probe into the local DOE furniture purchase scheme, allegedly involving Lt. Gov. Faoa A. Sunia and Sen. Tulifua Tini Lam Yuen - both of whom went on trial in January 2010 but in March that year the court granted the government’s motion for dismissal without prejudice after the jury was unable to reach an unanimous verdict on several charges.

 



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