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Farmer charged for assaulting his wife’s “visitor” released from TCF

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 36-year-old farmer convicted of using a metal pipe to strike the head of an intruder who visited his wife at their home was released from the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) yesterday morning, after the court sentenced him to time served - which is 7 months.

Gogo Salati appeared in High Court yesterday morning for sentencing. He was represented by Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill, while prosecuting was Assistant Attorney General Doug Lowe.

Salati was initially charged with second degree assault, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

However, under a plea agreement with the government, Salati pled guilty to the amended charge of third degree assault, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

When given the chance to address the court, Salati apologized and asked for a second chance to continue to remain in American Samoa to care for his family. He said he’s 36 years old and has lived here most of his life.

Salati said there was no intention to cause severe injuries to the intruder; however, his anger got the best of him and caused him to react that way. He told the court he made a mistake and he wants to start a new chapter in life.

The defense asked the court for a probated sentence, without any jail time. Prosecutor Lowe didn’t object. Assistant Public Defender McNeill said the intruder went to his client’s home on the night in question for the purpose of visiting his wife, and Salati used a metal pipe to assault the intruder.

After the incident, McNeill said, Salati was taken into custody and his wife departed the territory for Samoa.

The court sentenced Salati to 12 months imprisonment. Execution of detention is suspended and he is placed on probation for 12 months subject to several conditions. He is to visit Probation once a month, and he must not make any contact with the intruder, Tipi Aloina.

The court also ordered Salati to continue working on his farm, to pay his $500 fine.