Governor taps Deputy AG Talauega to head up AG's office, for now
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has appointed the Deputy Attorney General for Civil Division, Talauega Eleasalo Ale as acting Attorney General, until a permanent selection is made.
The appointment became effective New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, in a memo issued by the governor the same day to all ASG entities about the acting AG, who will oversee the Department of Legal Affairs, which includes the Attorney General’s Office and Immigration.
Talauega’s appointment comes as Attorney General Afoa L. Su’esu’e Lutu has resigned to take up one of the three senatorial seats for the Maoputasi county, representing the villages of Fagatogo, Utulei and Fagaalu.
Afoa made his official farewell speech to the Governor, Lt. Governor and directors during a special cabinet meeting on Monday.
Afoa is not new to the Fono; he has served in the past in the House of Representatives and also as Fono legal counsel for several years.
Forty-five-year old Talauega, who joined the AG’s Office in August last year, oversees the Civil Division, while the Criminal Division is under the jurisdiction of Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop, who has been with the AG’s Office for five years.
In his memo, Lolo says that Talauega shall be responsible for carrying out the mandated functions of the Department of Legal Affairs and attorney general as prescribed by law. Additionally, Talauega will serve as acting attorney general, “until a permanent selection is made.”
It's unclear when the governor will make a permanent appointment, which is subject to Fono confirmation.
As reported by Samoa News in August of last year, Talauega attended law school at Drake University, where he received his law degree in 1994. He also holds a BA in political science from Truman State University prior to attending law school.
Talauega, who is from Se’etaga village, worked as a Law Clerk to Judge James Burns in Hawai’i's Intermediate Court of Appeals for over a year. He also worked at the law firm of Faegre Baker Daniels in Minneapolis for 17 years, where he made partner after working seven years as an Associate, then staying on another ten years with the firm.
Talauega told Samoa News that it was always his dream — from a young age — to be an attorney.