PENDING OUTCOME OF APPEAL
Leyda I. Ada is asking the federal court for her release pending the outcome of her appeal from her conviction of perjury and sentence to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Ada, through counsel Mark B. Hanson, filed on Tuesday her motion for release in the U.S. District Court for the NMI. As of this filing, she remains at liberty awaiting notice from the U.S. Marshal Service to self-surrender when a federal prison facility is already available for her.
Ada filed in court last April 22 a notice of appeal of her conviction and sentence.
In Ada’s motion for release, Hanson said the defendant is not a flight risk, is not a danger to the community, and her appeal and this motion are not for purposes of delay.
Hanson said Ada has and will present issues to the Ninth Circuit that are “substantial” in nature—fairly debatable—and that would require reversal or re-sentencing if she prevails on either of the issues presented.
Hanson said there is no likelihood that Ada will flee the jurisdiction of the court pending the resolution of her appeal.
Hanson said Ada has extensive ties to the community and the U.S. government has possession of her passport.
The lawyer said Ada was not convicted of a crime of violence nor of a crime that could be characterized as one which posed or poses danger to the community.
Hanson said neither Ada’s appeal nor this motion for release is for purposes of delay.
Ada challenges on appeal her conviction and her sentence on several grounds.
First, Hanson said, there was insufficient evidence for the jury to find that she willfully provided false testimony about cash on hand and/or money in a checking or savings account when she signed the “Form CJA.”
Second, Hanson said, the question that was asked of Ada by Probation Officer Margarita Wonenberg, “Have you any cash on hand or money in savings or checking accounts?” is fundamentally ambiguous.
The lawyer pointed out that the answer to a question which is “fundamentally ambiguous…may not, as a matter of law, form the basis of a prosecution for perjury.”
Hanson added that, among other probable and possible challenges to her conviction and sentence, Ada also challenges the court’s calculation of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the court’s application of the advisory guidelines in formulating its sentence in this case.
Last April 24, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona slapped Ada with a sentence of two years and three months imprisonment.
Ada was allowed her continued release pending the designation of her federal prison facility. She was required to call the U.S. Marshal Service thrice a week to check if there is already available federal prison facility for her.
Last June 26, a federal jury reached a verdict, acquitting Ada of the charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering, but finding her guilty as to the crime of perjury.
The 12 jurors found Ada guilty of perjury when she signed “no” to the question in the “CJA form” if she has any cash on hand or money in savings or checking accounts.
In order to determine whether Ada could afford her own lawyer when she was arrested, she was required by the court to truthfully complete a financial affidavit.
In the paragraph entitled “Employment,” Ada also checked the “no” box indicating that she was not employed.
According to the indictment, Ada’s statements were false because she knew that she had $4,000 in cash at the time in her personal clothing drawer at her house and had access to and was an authorized user of at least two bank accounts.
Ada used to be a sales representative for Midwest Medical Supply Co. Inc., a Missouri-based company that had supplied dialysis consumables and equipment to the Commonwealth Health Center.
Ada’s husband, Melvin Ada, is a former employee of the Commonwealth Health Center. He pleaded guilty to 56 charges for misappropriating and diverting CNMI Treasury checks made payable to a medical supplier company totaling over $1.7 million. Last December, he was slapped with a sentence of 12.7 years imprisonment.