The Superior Court jury trial of former Department of Public Safety deputy commissioner Ambrosio T. Ogumoro and his co-defendant, Herman M. Manglona, for corruption charges began yesterday.
Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo started the jury selection. When Saipan Tribune left the courtroom at 4pm, the jury selection was still ongoing.
Assistant attorneys general Matthew Baisley and Heather Barcinas are prosecuting the case. Defense attorney Mark B. Hanson is counsel for Ogumoro, while assistant public defender Tillman Clark is counsel for Manglona.
The trial has been postponed several times due to several reasons.
Last December, Govendo set a new trial date after Manglona did not appear as he was in the Philippines at that time to accompany his wife for cervical cancer surgery.
The trial was originally set for March 14, 2016.
A second amended information charged Ogumoro with eight counts relating to theft by deception, misconduct in public office, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, removal of government property, and theft by unlawful taking.
The second amended information also charged Manglona with conspiracy to commit theft by deception and receiving stolen property.
According to the allegations, Ogumoro brought a 1995 Toyota Tercel that belonged to DPS to a shop to be repaired using DPS funds totaling $2,500 and then sold the vehicle as “scrap” for only $50 to Manglona.
Ogumoro also allegedly instructed a DPS staff to bring a DPS desktop computer to a shop for repairs using DPS funding in the amount of $276. The computer was allegedly later used in the office at True North Bar & Grill, which is owned by Ogumoro.
In January 2016, a Superior Court jury rendered a unanimous verdict finding Ogumoro guilty of conspiracy to commit theft of services, and theft of services pertaining to the same incident of shielding of then-attorney general Edward Buckingham from being served with penal summons in August 2012.
Then-associate judge David A. Wiseman also found Ogumoro guilty of five counts of misconduct in public office, one count of obstructing justice: Interference with a law enforcement officer or witness, and one count of criminal coercion.
On March 30, 2016, Wiseman slapped Ogumoro with a one-year prison sentence. The defendant started serving the prison term on April 13, 2016.
In June 2016, the Department of Corrections, however, granted Ogumoro’s request to avail from DOC’s work-release program.