Jury selection begins in Guam prostitution case
HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Jury selection began Monday for the trial of two Guam police officers accused in a karaoke lounge prostitution case.
It’s expected to take nearly two weeks to select 12 jurors and four alternates. Jury selection will continue despite pending motions seeking to dismiss the case, Superior Court Judge Anita Sukola said.
David Manila and Anthony Quenga are charged with conspiracy to compel prostitution and other charges. Prosecutors claim the owner of the Blue House karaoke lounge used her connections with police officers to intimidate Micronesian migrant women into prostitution.
Song Ja Cha, former owner of the now-shuttered lounge, has been sentenced to life in federal prison.
Defense attorneys for the officers say the case against them should be dismissed because Cha isn’t a co-defendant in the conspiracy charges, Pacific Daily News (http://ow.ly/nt8Hu ) reported.
“Without Cha, there can be no conspiracy,” one of the motions to dismiss states.
The officers didn’t control the environment the women lived in and didn’t gain financially, according to Quenga’s motion. His motion acknowledges that statements such as, ”‘if you run away, I will arrest you,‘” were made. “Yet there is no factual incident alleged and identified whereby any victim can show that the defendants’ threat of arrest compelled (the lounge employees) to engage in prostitution activities at least with one customer.”
The victims engaged in prostitution before they knew Manila existed, his motion claims.
Manila, Quenga and a third officer were arrested last year. The third officer, Mario Laxamana, is expected to testify against them.
Information from: Pacific Daily News, http://www.guampdn.com/