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February 23, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC, February 23, 2010 — The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has declared a mistrial in the trial of Lt. Governor Aitofele Sunia of the U.S. territory of American Samoa. U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton declared the mistrial following nine days of deliberations in which jurors could not reach a verdict. Today, the panel announced that it was deadlocked, with eleven members favoring acquittal on all counts for both Mr. Sunia and his codefendant, Tini Lam Yuen. Covington & Burling LLP represented Mr. Sunia throughout the proceedings.
The two defendants were indicted in 2007. The indictment charged Mr. Sunia with conspiracy, fraud, bribery, and obstruction of an agency proceeding. The allegations relate to the purchase of school furniture by the American Samoa Department of Education. Mr. Sunia previously served as Treasurer of American Samoa and currently is Lieutenant Governor; he won re-election in 2008. The trial began on January 12.
The Covington white collar defense team was led by partner Stephen Anthony, with partner Emily Henn and associates Josh Greenberg, Kelly Vanderzell, James Smith, and Daniel Suleiman. All are based in the firm’s Washington office.