Evidence withheld in Blue House case

Not everyone: Guam Police officers surround the Blue House Lounge, which was operating as a brothel, while other officers execute a search warrant inside on Jan. 14, 2008. Three police officers are in the middle of a trial for allegedly helping the brothel owner keep unwilling girls in check. One of the defending attorneys is arguing that not all police officers who visited the brothel are being prosecuted. Pacific Daily News file photo

Prosecutors allegedly stopped law enforcement witnesses from testifying about more police officers who were linked to the Blue House brothel or accused of misconduct, according to a defense attorney in the case.

Attorney William Pole, who represents police officer suspect David Manila, argues in a new motion that government prosecutors withheld evidence from the grand jury in the prostitution case.

A grand jury decides if charges against a suspect are worth pursing. Based on the evidence provided to the grand jury, the Office of the Attorney General indicted three police officers for alleged ties to the Tamuning brothel. However, Pole argues that prosecutors have received allegations against numerous other officers, which don’t appear to have been investigated, and weren’t presented to the grand jury.

“The Office of the Attorney General stopped the reporting officers from mentioning the other officers in their reports,” Pole argues in his motion, which seeks to dismiss the case. “(Police Officer Tracey) Volta was stopped from mentioning officers by the Office of the Attorney General. The Office of the Attorney General again stopped (FBI Agent Jason) Dodd from telling the grand jury about other officers accused of misconduct.”

Grand jury proceedings are closed to the public and transcripts of these proceedings are confidential, so there is no public document that can confirm or contest the allegations in Pole’s motion.

The Office of the Attorney General has not yet responded to the motion, which was filed yesterday afternoon. Carlina Charfauros, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Attorney General, said prosecutors would respond to the motion through arguments in the courthouse.

Manila is one of three police officers indicted in the Blue House case in late November. The other two are Mario Laxamana and Anthony Quenga, and all three officers are accused of assisting the Blue House brothel, which was open from 2004 to 2008. Quenga and Manila also were charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, which can carry a life sentence.

The motion filed yesterday isn’t the first to argue that prosecutors have received more allegations against more officers.

Earlier this month, Pole filed another motion — this time trying to dismiss for “prosecutorial vindictiveness” — which said that discovery documents provided by prosecutors contain allegations against more officers.

Only attorneys in the case can access these discovery documents. Pole argued that these confidential documents include allegations that at least three more officers are connected to Blue House, and that another eight officers committed “misconduct or criminal activity.” None of these officers were identified.

Pole previously has said he doesn’t endorse any of the allegations in the discovery documents. The goal of his motions is to show that prosecutors haven’t treated all accused officers the same, and that prosecutors withheld information from the grand jury.

Many motions

A flurry of defense motions were filed in the Blue House case in the hours before a deadline yesterday, and arguments are expected during a court hearing the day before Christmas.

During a Superior Court of Guam hearing yesterday morning, Assistant Attorney General Nelson Werner said he expected several motions to be filed in the afternoon. Yesterday was the last day to file pre-trial motions in the case.

“And I believe they will all overlap in some way,” Werner said in court. “Someone is going to argue statute of limitations. Someone is going to argue double jeopardy.”

Werner was right on both counts. At least four motions to dismiss were filed — including arguments about both statute of limitations and duplicity — and those join at least five more motions that are waiting for arguments. All of these are expected to be tackled on Dec. 24.

One motion, filed on behalf of brothel owner Song Ja Cha, argues there is no reason to prosecute a woman who is already going to die in prison. Cha is serving life in prison after being convicted in a federal Blue House trial.

“Defendant Cha is currently 70 years old, and continued prosecution does not seem to be in the best interest of the territory,” argued attorney F. Randall Cunliffe.


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