Criminal case against House Vice Speaker set for jury trial
The government’s case against House Vice Speaker Talia I’aulualo Fa’afetai will proceed to jury trial March 13, 2013. Talia is charged with one charge of public servant acceding to corruption and three counts of embezzlement.
The corruption charge is a class D felony punishable with up to five years in jail, a fine not exceeding $5,000 or twice the amount gain, not to exceed to $20,000 or both. Each embezzlement count is a class C felony punishable with up to seven years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or twice the amount of gain not exceeding $20,000 or both fine and imprisonment.
This matter, which was one of the Independent Prosecutor’s cases, was called before the High Court yesterday, for a pre-trial conference, however Talia opted for his case to move to trial, as requested by his lawyer Sharron Rancourt.
According to the government’s case, the allegations were made against Talia when he was Director of the Department of Human Social Services. It’s alleged that Talia issued paychecks to former DHSS employee for a period of three months, when the employee was seeking medical treatment off island.
The government claims Talia authorized the paychecks even though the employee did not have sick or annual leave. Marcellus Talaimalo Uiagalelei is the prosecutor for all four IP cases pending in the High Court.
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