Ada couple invokes right not to testify

Trial now on its next phase, closing arguments today

The defense rested yesterday in the ongoing jury trial in federal court of Leyda I. Ada, while the prosecution did not call any rebuttal witness.

With this development, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona excused the jurors yesterday morning and directed them to come back today, Wednesday, at 9am for the closing arguments.

Attorney Mark B. Hanson, counsel for Ada, announced that the defense rested after their third and last witness, Joseph Ada Sr., father of Melvin Ada, completed his testimony.

Melvin is Leyda Ada’s husband.

Leyda Ada informed the court that upon her discussion with her counsel they decided to invoke her right not to testify.

Melvin appeared in court with appointed independent counsel, Steven Pixley.

Pixley explained that the court appointed him yesterday morning as independent counsel for Melvin after the U.S. government served a subpoena to Melvin for the latter to testify as a rebuttal witness.

Pixley said attorney Colin Thompson, counsel for Melvin in the criminal case, is currently in California and that he was not able to reach him.

Pixley said he advised Melvin to invoke his 5th Amendment right to remain silent and not to testify.

Asked by Manglona if he is indeed invoking his right to remain silent, Melvin replied in the affirmative.

Assistant U.S. attorney Garth Backe then informed the court that the prosecution will not call any rebuttal witness.

Leyda Ada is accused of conspiring with Melvin to perpetrate healthcare fraud exceeding $1.7 million.

She is on trial on charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, and perjury.

The original indictment charged the Ada couple with 59 counts.

Melvin 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. He is awaiting his sentencing.

Leyda 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 CHC.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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