Samoan man and wife ‘chief witnesses’ in drug case


A Samoan co-defendant and his common-law wife in a federal drug case have been described by drug defendant, Walter Dominguez, as “chief witnesses” for prosecutors, according to new court filings at the federal court in Honolulu.
Dominguez, and six other defendants, including three Samoans are currently on trial at the federal court in Honolulu on a drug case. Thru his defense counsel, Dominguez requested the presiding judge, U.S. District Court Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi, to exclude co-defendant John Tai and his common-law wife Gertrude Sale from testifying as witnesses for the government against him during trial.
John Tai and younger brother Louis Tai last year reached separate plea agreements with prosecutors in this case. The pair, along with other Samoans who are also co-defendants in this case as well as in a separate, but linked, drug case are testifying for the government.
One of the co-defendants on trial is Kaisa Tai, who was arrested in the territory two years ago with brother Louis and taken to Honolulu where they were charged, along with John, who was arrested in California and also taken to Honolulu.
In his motion, which has since been denied by the judge, Dominguez characterizes John Tai as the government’s “lead informant,” and Dominguez characterizes John Tai and Gertrude Sale, as the government’s “chief two witnesses” against him, according to court filings.
 Additionally, Dominguez asserts that an attorney for John and Gertrude “engineered the investigative plan” against Dominguez and that the same attorney had Gertrude record conversations with Dominguez.
In denying the motion, the federal judge said that Dominguez’s current counsel will have the opportunity to cross-examine John Tai and Ms. Sale on the witness stand. Yesterday was the 12th day of the jury trial, and the second day of testimony for John Tai, who was also cross examined by the defense.


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