Section 8 housing fraud trial may be delayed due to COVID-19

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The trial for two men accused of being involved in Section 8 housing fraud may be delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former GHURA attorney Mark Smith and his friend, Glenn Wong, may not face trial until October 6th due to social distancing concerns posed by the ongoing pandemic.

Federal Judge Ramona Manglona suggested that today’s hearing be continued until Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood issues more COVID-19 guidance by next week.

Defense attorneys Mike Phillips and Curtis Van de Veld claimed that an October trial would not be feasible and requested that the trial be delayed by at least 8 weeks. They cited responses to a COVID-19 survey which stated that 87 percent of the case’s potential jurors would not be comfortable fulfilling their duties during the ongoing pandemic.

Van de Veld said that selecting a jury based on this limited pool would hamper the ability for Wong to fully choose a jury of his peers. Smith also waived his right to a speedy trial to ensure no violation of the speedy trial act.

The government says they are ready to commence trial in October or any other date and has stated they intend to call at least five witnesses for the trial.

Manglona has taken the matter under advisement. August 21st is the next status conference.

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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.