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Sentencing dates for Pase, Solofa, Nauer all continued

The federal court in Washington D.C. has granted Mine S. Pase’s motion to continue sentencing until later in May because, among other things, her defense attorney requires traveling to American Samoa to discuss sentencing issues with the defendant, who is released on her own recognizance.

Pase, the 62-year old sister of Lt. Gov. Faoa Aitofele Sunia, pled guilty last November to one count of  conspiracy to steal more than $325,000 in AmeriCorps grant funds, which were provided to the American Samoa Special Services Commission (ASSSC).

Pase, who served as executive director of ASSSC from March 2001 and October 2010, was scheduled for sentencing Mar. 23 this year, but her attorney, Washington D.C. based Assistant Federal Public Defender Michelle Peterson two weeks ago filed a motion to continue sentencing, a move not opposed by the U.S. Justice Department.

According to the motion, Pase is a resident of American Samoa and is released on her own recognizance with pretrial supervision and she is in complete compliance with her release conditions.

The defense attorney “will need to travel to American Samoa to meet with Ms. Pase prior to preparing our sentencing submission,” the motion says. “While the Presentence Investigation Report has been completed, due to a heavy trial calendar and various personal matters, [defense] counsel has been unable to meet with Ms. Pase to discuss sentencing issues and has been unable to complete the investigation needed to prepare for sentencing.”

“Additionally, because counsel has another American Samoan client awaiting sentencing in Honolulu, budgetary issues require attempting to coordinate travel on both cases,” according to the motion, which requested sentencing after May 14.

U.S. District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton has since granted the continuance with May 23 as the new sentencing date.

The other American Samoan client the defense attorney is referring to is Paul Solofa, who was convicted last month in a jury trial presided over by Walton, who set sentencing for Apr. 27. But court records now show that Solofa’s sentencing is continued to May 5.

Solofa self surrendered on Feb. 12 at the federal detention center in Honolulu to await sentencing in Washington D.C.  Solofa was convicted of one count each of obstruction of justice and witness tempering for his role in the local Department of Education school bus spare parts scheme, which prosecutors say occurred at the time when Solofa was DOE business office manager several years ago.

Among government witnesses who testified in Solofa’s case was former DOE school bus supervisor Gustav Nauer, who pled guilty in 2010 at the federal court in Honolulu for his role in the school bus spare parts scheme. Nauer’s sentencing is set for Mar. 5,  but court records show it has been continued to Apr. 6.

There are no details as to why sentencing for Solofa and Nauer have been continued.