Rota Mayor Efraim M. Atalig and his girlfriend, Evelyn Atalig, have agreed with the U.S. government to postpone the jury trial in their case to March 12, 2019, instead of the current schedule of Jan. 15, 2019.
The Ataligs and the U.S. government, through their lawyers, said a superseding indictment was issued against both Efraim and Evelyn Atalig last Nov. 28.
That superseding indictment named Evelyn Atalig as a defendant for the first time and also brought new charges against Efraim Atalig.
Evelyn Atalig entered her initial appearance in the case only last week, Monday.
David George Banes and Steven P. Pixley, counsel for Efraim and Evelyn Atalig respectively, and assistant U.S. attorney Eric O’Malley, counsel for the U.S. government, said their request for a continuance of the trial “is grounded upon substantial justice.”
The Ataligs waived their right to a speedy trial.
The parties said the ends of justice would be served by continuing the jury trial date.
“The reasons for such continuance outweigh the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial,” according to the parties’ stipulation signed by Banes, Pixley, and O’Malley last Friday.
The Ataligs had already pleaded not-guilty to the superseding indictment that charged the two of them for making CNMI government-funded trips to California, Palau, Guam, and Saipan using false pretenses.
The Atalig are facing four charges—conspiracy, wire fraud, theft from program receiving federal funds, and one count of false statements. They are out of jail, subject to some conditions.
The original indictment was filed last Aug. 30. It charged Mayor Atalig with only one count of wire fraud over the Guam political rally.
The mayor is facing another case that the Office of the Attorney General filed last Aug. 31, before the Superior Court arising from the same political rally in Guam. In this case, he and seven other Rota municipal officials are being charged with theft and misconduct in public office.
Atalig was re-elected Rota mayor last Nov. 13.