Jury selection began in federal court yesterday in the trial of Leyda I. Ada, who is accused of conspiring with her husband to perpetrate a health care fraud exceeding $1.7 million.
U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona began the jury selection yesterday morning and will continue the process this morning, Tuesday.
Attorney Mark Hanson is court-appointed counsel for Ada. Assistant U.S. attorneys Garth Backe and Ross Naughton are counsel for the U.S. government.
According to the minutes of a hearing on Friday, Manglona stated that after jury selection, the court would take at least a two-day recess before continuing with the trial.
Manglona said the court would not swear in the selected jurors until the morning of the opening arguments.
Friday’s hearing was for Ada’s motion to postpone jury trial.
Hanson argued that because of the U.S. government’s pretrial activities, he is being forced to spend much of his trial preparation time reviewing, researching, briefing, and responding to the various and voluminous filings.
Hanson said that if the trial were to go forward on Monday (yesterday), another court-appointed counsel should be named to assist him.
Hanson wanted the trial postponed for no less than two weeks or about a month.
The prosecution opposed.
After listening to the arguments, Manglona denied Ada’s motion, saying the prosecution’s explanation was justified.
Manglona also denied Ada’s request to appoint another counsel to assist Hanson.
Ada is faced with only three charges: conspiracy to commit laundering, money laundering, and perjury. The original indictment charged her and her husband, Melvin Ada, with 59 counts.
Melvin Ada, a former employee of the Commonwealth Health Center, 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 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.