U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted yesterday a motion by Rota Mayor Efraim M. Atalig and his girlfriend, Evelyn M. Atalig, for the continuance of the trial date in their criminal case.
Manglona granted the Ataligs’ joint motion to put off the jury trial to a later date due to the continuity of counsel, ongoing exchange of discovery materials, and to give them more time to prepare for the case “taking into account the exercise of due diligence.”
The new trial date is June 4, 2019, at 10am, instead of March 12 that was initially set.
Manglona set the hearing on Mayor Efraim Atalig’s motion to exclude evidence relating to three trips for March 15 at 9am.
The judge granted Mayor Efraim Atalig’s request to appear by telephone for the motion hearing. She said Evelyn Atalig may also appear by telephone if she wishes to participate in that hearing.
The Ataligs appeared telephonically at yesterday’s hearing on the joint motion for continuance. Mayor Efraim Atalig’s court-appointed counsel, David Banes, and co-counsel, Cong Nie, were present in court. Evelyn Atalig’s court-appointed counsel, Steven Pixley, was also in court. Assistant U.S. attorney Eric O’Malley appeared for the U.S. government.
According to the minutes of the hearing, Banes informed the court regarding issues with trying to find an investigator and explained other reasons for their request for the continuance of the trial date.
Pixley informed the court that they were still looking for an investigator. He stated that his client agreed to the request for more time.
The Ataligs are indicted on five corruption charges for allegedly arranging CNMI government-funded trips to California, Palau, Guam, and Saipan under fraudulent pretenses.
The defendants have pleaded not guilty to all the charges.