Mistrial declared in ex-GHURA attorney’s case

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Attorney David Lujan was also disqualified from serving as Mark Smith’s legal counsel.

Guam – Federal Judge Ramona Manglona declared a mistrial in the case involving former Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority legal counsel Attorney Mark Smith and his friend Glenn Wong.

Manglona also disqualified Smith’s defense counsel, Atty. David Lujan as Smith’s legal counsel.

Opening statements had already been made but it was what happened during Lujan’s opening statements that led to Judge Manglona’s decision.

Initially, it was Lujan who called for mistrial on grounds that the jury was exposed to a document that contains Lujan’s history also as former GHURA legal counsel who had a potential conflict of interest.

But it was the prosecution’s counter motion for mistrial that led to the judge’s decision. Assistant US Attorney Marivic David argued that Lujan deliberately displayed the word “racist” in bold red letters on an enlarged version of documents placed on an easel in front of the jury.

Not only was the word “racist” problematic for the prosecution, David argued that the copy provided to the prosecution and the judge had the word omitted.

Smith and Wong are facing charges of Section 8 housing fraud after Smith allegedly transferred his property to Wong’s name to avoid a conflict of interest as GHURA’s legal counsel but continue to benefit from the Section 8 program.

The next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 6 at 9 am while trial has been rescheduled for Nov. 20.