Federal Public Defender asks Chief Judge to ban U.S. Attorney and staff from federal courthouse

Federal Public Defender John Gorman, left, versus U.S. Attorney Shawn Anderson.

The Federal Public Defender, John Gorman, has sent an email to Chief District Court Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood, asking her to ban U.S. Attorney Shawn Anderson and his staff from the Guam Federal Courthouse.

In his email, Gorman writes that he has been “troubled” in recent weeks by what he called the U.S. Attorney’s “cavalier attitude” towards the coronavirus pandemic.  “Their recent actions over the weekend are even more disturbing.”


On Saturday, Governor Lou Leon Guerrero sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr seeking Anderson’s removal from office because he refused to comply with the quarantine order after arriving at the Guam International Airport Saturday.

In his email to the Chief Judge today, Gorman notes that on March 12 he asked the District Court to take immediate and reasonable steps to deal with the coronavirus and he was “shocked” when the U.S. Attorney’s office replied that it was “business as usual” and no protective or proactive measures were needed.

Federal Public Defender John Gorman (Photo courtesy Federal Public Defender website)

Gorman states that it is his understanding that Anderson was in Thailand which is a regional hotspot for COVID-19, and “he has willfully broken the quarantine and potentially infected” his entire office.

“The U.S. Attorney foolishly believes that reasonable and responsible public safety laws and regulations do not apply to him or his staff,” writes Gorman. “He is wrong.”

Gorman maintains that “Mr. Anderson and his staff must be banned from (the) Guam Federal Courthouse” writing that “this is the only reasonable solution to protect us all.”

“In the alternative,” Gorman writes “my staff and myself will not appear in the same courtroom with any U.S. Attorney or their staff until they have undergone the recommended quarantine.”

Response from U.S. Attorney Shawn Anderson

Shawn Anderson, the U.S. Attorney for Guam and the CNMI.

Carmela Rapadas, the Law Enforcement Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, issued the following response on behalf of Mr. Anderson:

“I have not had personal contact with our staff.  I am also now set up to telework, which I will do for the next two weeks.  I will only go to the office if necessary.  Again, I did not travel to a CDC high-risk country and do not have symptoms of COVID-19.”