Federal jurors yesterday began deliberating in the case against Jordan M. Jucutan, a former U.S. Army Reserve member who is on trial for allegedly engaging in a scheme to defraud and to obtain money by falsely claiming he referred soldiers about to enlist in the Army Reserve through the Army Recruiter Assistant Program (AR-RAP).
U.S. District Court for the NMI Senior Judge Alex R. Munson, who is presiding over the trial, instructed the jurors to start deliberating at 4:35pm.
At 5pm, the jurors were released and ordered to resume their deliberations today, Thursday, at 8am.
In the U.S. government’s closing arguments, assistant U.S. attorney Russell H. Lorfing said they have presented sufficient evidence to meet the burden to prove beyond reasonable doubt to find Jucutan guilty of all eight counts—four counts of wire fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft.
“Ladies and gentlemen, actions have consequences,” Lorfing told the jurors.
In Jucutan’s closing arguments, defense attorney Pamela Brown Blackburn said after reviewing all the evidence the jury should find the defendant not guilty of all eight charges because the U.S. government failed to prove the charges beyond reasonable doubt.
Blackburn cited the testimony of their nine witnesses.
“All testified that Jordan is known for his honesty,” Blackburn said.
Lorfing said it is not about that Jucutan is likeable because it does not change the fact that he committed this crime.
Lorfing said all of Jucutan’s stories are outlandish and that the jurors should be insulted.
The prosecutor said U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command special agents Elizabeth H. Smith and Josh Kimrey both testified that Miranda or constitutional rights were read before Jucutan and that the defendant actually signed it.
“Think about how reasonable his (Jucutan) testimony is,” Lorfing said.
Lorfing cited an instance during his cross-examination when he got pretty tired of Jucutan being evasive.
“He wants to create an image that he doesn’t understand what’s going on,” he said, noting that Jucutan provided three reasons for him making a false statement.
Lorfing said credibility of witnesses speak for itself.
Blackburn compared Jucutan to David and the U.S. government as Goliath.
Blackburn said Jucutan not only served the nation for eight years, but also made the islands and his family proud.
The defense lawyer said the defendant was raised to be honest and does not even have a traffic infraction.
Blackburn said Lorfing asked Jucutan why some of the potential soldiers or nominees could not remember him.
Blackburn said Jucutan’s answer was that he can’t testify for them.
“That’s being honest,” she said.