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Paul Solofa federal trial begins on January 16 in DC

Businessman and former ASDOE employee to be star witnesses
fili@samoanews.com

Paul Solofa's travel plans, for his trial, were approved last week by the federal court in Washington D.C.

The U.S. Marshal Service will arrange for Solofa to depart the territory and arrive in Washington DC before Jan. 16, when his federal trial begins.

Solofa is charged with obstruction of justice and witness tampering stemming from his role in the school bus spare parts scheme during the time he headed the Department of Education business office several years ago.

Federal prosecutors allege in a new set of court documents, filed last week, that Solofa attempted to persuade businessman Oscar Mayer to provide false and misleading information to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents regarding cash paid by Mayer to Gustav Nauer and Solofa in connection with the purchase of “phantom” school bus parts by the ASDOE.

The government also alleges in court filings that Solofa instructed Mayer to burn documents that Solofa had reason to believe were about to be subpoenaed in the investigation of the matter by a Grand Jury in Washington D.C.

The federal indictment charges that by so doing, Solofa committed the offenses of witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

Mayer, owner of Pacific Products, the local company involved in the alleged scheme, and Nauer, a former official with the ASDOE bus division, are to be the government’s super star witnesses in Solofa’s trial, which will include other witnesses from the territory.

Mayer has yet to be charged in the case and it’s unclear if he will ever be charged or whether he struck a deal with the U.S. Justice Department as a cooperating witness.

Nauer pled guilty at the federal court in Honolulu for his role and his sentencing, originally scheduled for this month, has been continued to Mar. 5, 2012.

Solofa denies the government's allegations and has waived his appearance for a hearing next week.

Meantime, attorneys for both parties have filed a joint 11-page proposal of questions to be asked to a pool of prospective jurors, be selected for the trial.

They also filed a joint 14-page motion of proposed jury instructions, last week.

The government estimates the trial will last at least a week.



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