6 Dec 2007

American Samoa politicians try to avoid Washington court hearing for conspiracy and bribery charges

2:33 pm on 6 December 2007

American Samoa's Lt Governor Ipulasi Aitofele Sunia and Senator Tulifua Tini Lam Yuen have both filed motions to waive their court appearances in a US District Court in Washington DC next week.

The two are charged with conspiracy, fraud, bribery and obstruction of agency proceedings relating to contracts awarded to companies they owned.

They are scheduled to appear in court for a status conference.

The lawyer for Ipulasi says the Lt. Governor lives in American Samoa with his family, approximately 11 thousand kilometres away from Washington DC.

In Tulifua's case, his lawyer says the Senator is living in California and it would be too expensive to travel.