25 May 2009

Trial of American Samoa senator and Lt Governor postponed until November

6:22 am on 25 May 2009

The US federal court in Washington D.C. has granted a request by American Samoa's Lt Governor, Faoa Aitofele Sunia, and Senator, Tulifua Tini Lam Yuen, to postpone their joint trial.

Faoa and Tulifua are charged with fraud and bribery.

The pair's trial was scheduled to get underway in two weeks.

A US District Court Judge has now issued an order to continue the trial date to November 2.

The US Justice Department says the order is to allow the defendants sufficient time to review audio recordings of proceedings before the Fono, recordings upon which the parties only recently discovered.

The Department added that the government was prepared to go to trial on the case next month as scheduled.

But it said in the interest of ensuring a fair and just resolution, the government did not oppose the request.