Guam AG’s Office Moves To Recuse Blue House Attorney
By Cameron Miculka
HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Feb. 26, 2013) – The Office of the Attorney General has filed a motion in the Superior Court of Guam to recuse an attorney representing one of the police officers indicted in the Blue House case.
Yesterday, Assistant Attorney General Nelson Werner argued that William Pole, who represents Officer David Manila, ought to be removed from the case due to what he called a "conflict of interest in the case."
The supposed conflict of interest goes back to 2008, when two men were charged with abetting prostitution at the brothel in 2008.
At that time, Pole worked as an assistant attorney general and wrote the declaration -- or the summary of events that's part of the formal criminal complaint filed by prosecutors -- that implicated the two men.
Werner argued that because Pole was involved in this case, there's a conflict of interest that would prevent him from fairly representing Manila in the case.
That could leave the door open for an appeal later on down the road, he said.
The prosecutor said if Manila is found guilty, he could appeal his conviction on the grounds that he wasn't properly convicted, a risk Werner isn't willing to take.
As a result, he has filed a motion to recuse Pole as Manila's attorney.
Pole, however, argued that the case against the two Blue House customers is wholly separate from the case against the officers and lounge owner Song Ja Cha.
The attorney told the court that, "by definition," the 2008 case is not the same case as the current one and there is no conflict of interest.
He also said the prosecution should have brought it before the court long before now, considering it's been several months since Pole took Manila on as a client.
"If they believed it was related, they should have turned it over months ago," Pole said.
Judge Anita Sukola elected not to rule on the motion at yesterday's hearing and took the matter under advisement.
Sukola scheduled a pre-trial conference for the case on March 18. She said the trial likely would begin by the end of that month.
Manila is one of three officers indicted in the Blue House case, along with Officers Mario Laxamana and Anthony Aguon.
They are co-defendants with lounge owner Song Ja Cha, who was sentenced to life in prison in federal court related to crimes committed at the Blue House.
The lounge masqueraded as a brothel between 2004 and 2008.
A series of Pacific Daily News articles prompted law enforcement to investigate allegations of police involvement in the brothel, leading to the officers' arrest.
Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com
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