4 Jul 2006

US Justice Department seeks confirmation of conviction of former American Samoa businerssman

6:46 am on 4 July 2006

The United States Justice Department is asking the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to reaffirm the lower court's convictions and sentence of Kil Soo Lee, owner of the now closed Daewoosa Samoa garment factory in American Samoa.

Lee was sentenced by the federal court in Honolulu in June 2005 to 40 years in prison for enslaving, starving, and beating more than 200 Asian workers.

Lee's attorney filed an appeal in February seeking to reverse the lower court's judgment.

The appeal is based on a defence argument that the federal court in Honolulu has no jurisdiction to hear crimes that occurred in American Samoa.

Prosecutors disagree, arguing that the U.S. Congress has not expressly vested any court in American Samoa with jurisdiction to prosecute the crimes for which Lee was prosecuted.