Jury selection begins in GHURA trial

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Jury selection has begun in the case involving three out of six Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority executives accused of violating the open government law.

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Sixty individuals were called in to the Superior Court of Guam as potential jurors in the GHURA conspiracy case where former GHURA chairman David Sablan, board members Cecile Suda and Ronald Selvidge will stand trial for misdemeanor crimes related to conspiracy, official misconduct and violating the open government law.

The potential jurors are selected based on a series of questions formulated by the parties to ensure a fair trial.

Once a jury is empaneled, Superior Court Judge Anita Sukola will hear arguments regarding the defense’s claim of selective prosecution.

Sablan, Selvidge, and Rosie Blas enjoined John Ilao’s motion which claimed that the government violated equal protection laws by pursuing charges against the former GHURA board members and not the Consolidated Commission on Utilities board, pointing out that the CCU violated the open government law on two occasions, the most recent involving pay raises provided to GPA and GWA executives.

A decision and order was previously issued by Sukola ruling in favor of the prosecution, stating that “while the AGO is generally either unwilling or unable to enforce government transparency laws, the court holds that the decision to bring charges against the GHURA board was not based upon an arbitrary distinction.”

Ilao and Deanne Torre are accused in the same conspiracy, but were granted a severance from the other defendants. Their cases will trail his trial.

Michael Duenas took a cooperative plea agreement with the government and will be called as a witness in the case.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.