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Update: Indy Prosecutor named in Fanene domestic abuse case

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Meanwhile, the matter has been transferred to the FDA court

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Trial Division of the High Court of American Samoa has appointed private attorney Lornalei Meredith as Independent Prosecutor (IP) for the government’s case against former Department of Youth & Women’s Affairs (DYWA) director, Aiolupotea Jonathan Fanene.

In addition, Associate Justice Fiti Sunia granted a defense motion last week to transfer Fanene’s case to the Family, Drug & Alcohol (FDA) Court.

Private attorney Marcellus Talaimalo Uiagalelei is representing Fanene, who is out on $100,000 bond.

During court proceedings last week, IP Meredith asked for a continuance — which was granted by the court — saying she needed more time to review the information and carry out her investigation.

Sunia informed IP Fanene that there are two pending motions filed by the government against the defendant. One of them is the motion to revoke Fanene’s release on bond.

For the motion to transfer his client’s matter to the FDA, Uiagalelei argued that the case was filed in court as a domestic matter. And despite allegations by the government, Uiagalelei said, this is an alleged domestic dispute in the family and it needs to be addressed before the FDA court.

Two days after that hearing, Fanene appeared in court for yet another hearing, on the expedited motion to dismiss the temporary civil protection order against him.

It was a closed door hearing.

However, Samoa News understands that the FDA court granted the motion to dismiss the temporary civil protection order against Fanene, whose next hearing is Sept. 12, 2019.


Fanene, a former NFL Cincinnati Bengals defensive end, faces criminal charges for allegedly using a pipe, golf club, and broom handle to assault his wife and his sister over allegations he had an extramarital affair while on a trip to Hawaii, according to court filings.

Fanene is charged with 8 felonies, including kidnapping and assault; and 5 misdemeanors.