Drama unfolded yesterday shortly before noon in the ongoing jury trial of former acting Division of Fish and Wildlife director Raymond B. Roberto when one of his three alleged victims became upset at a comment made by defense counsel David J. Lujan during cross-examination. The alleged victim cursed Lujan, threw a glass of water at him, and berated the prosecutors.
The commotion prompted U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona to order a recess and instruct the lawyers to reconvene at 9am today, Wednesday. The judge ordered the 13 jurors, including an alternate, to return today, Wednesday, at 1:30pm.
When asked what the U.S. government will do now after the alleged victim’s outburst in front of jurors, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Districts of Guam and NMI public information officer Mae Blas said they have no comment as the trial is ongoing.
Saipan Tribune learned that during Lujan’s cross-examination of the 16-year-old girl, he asked her about the age of her then-boyfriend. She refused to answer the question.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rami S. Badawy objected to the relevance of the question. Lujan then argued that “it’s obvious that this girl likes older men.”
The girl stood up, pointed at Lujan, shouted profanities at him, and threatened to kill him and cut his neck.
The girl also grabbed a glass of water in front of her and threw it at Lujan, who was near her. Some of the water spattered onto the lawyer’s jacket.
When Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent Haejun Park approached her to calm her down, she pushed him and told him he’s responsible because she didn’t want to come to court.
As a court officer was escorting her out of the courtroom, she pointed at Assistant U.S. Attorney Rami S. Badawy and U.S. Attorney for the Districts of Guam and NMI Alicia Limtiaco, yelling that she did not want to come to court and that they made her testify.
Throughout this time, the girl’s mother, who was in the courtroom, was crying and yelling. The girl also kicked the courtroom’s door several times.
The girl began her testimony on Friday and resumed on Monday. During Lujan’s cross-examination on Monday, the girl admitted that she used to smoke methamphetamine or “ice” and is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder that may have affected her memory of some events.
The 40-year-old Roberto is on trial for three counts of enticing three minors to engage in prostitution and one count of witness tampering. Aside from Lujan, he also hired attorney Joaquin Torres as his private counsel.