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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Alleged pimp’s request to move trial OK’d
Judge finds case complex and unusual

The federal court granted yesterday the second request of alleged pimp Annette N. Basa to move her jury trial to another date.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona set Basa’s new trial date to March 17, 2014.

Manglona said she finds that the ends of justice require a further continuance to allow Basa time to prepare adequately for trial “in this complex and unusual case.”

The judge noted that the U.S. government already disclosed more than 1,500 pages of documents, and more may yet be forthcoming.

Manglona said the U.S. government recently seized cell phones in the course of related prosecutions and these items are now undergoing forensic analysis.

“These searches may uncover further information that would have to be disclosed to defense counsel” Steven Pixley, Manglona said.

She said Pixley needs more time to complete the interviews of some of key witnesses.

Assistant U.S attorney Rami Badawy did not object to the continuance.

Last Oct. 14, Manglona granted Basa’s first request to continue the trial to Jan. 27, 2014, on ends-of-justice grounds. The original trial date was Oct. 28, 2013.

Basa and co-defendant Richard S. Benavente have both pleaded not guilty to the charges of engaging in sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of two minors.

According to the indictment, Benavente persuaded the two girls to have sex and recorded the incident using a cell phone. This allegedly happened twice.

The indictment alleged that on April 1, 2013, Basa recruited and enticed the two girls to engage in “commercial sex act.”

A Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent alleged that Benavente took videos of himself having sex with two 15-year-old girls. Basa allegedly offered the girls to the firefighter in exchange for methamphetamine or “ice” and unspecified amount of money.

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