HAWAI‘I JUDGE SEEKS MORE ANSWERS FROM ATTORNEYS IN AMERICAN SAMOAWORKER ABUSE CASE

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HAWAI‘I JUDGE SEEKS MORE ANSWERS FROM ATTORNEYS IN AMERICAN SAMOA WORKER ABUSE CASE

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i (August 28, 2001 –Hawai‘i Public Radio/AP)---Attorneys were called back into court today to answer questions about a motion to dismiss the federal case against an accused sweatshop operator in American Samoa.

U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway asked the Public Defender for Kil Soo Lee and attorneys for the Federal government to explain what sort of rights Lee would have if he were to be tried in American Samoa, instead of in Hawai‘i.

Lee is charged with involuntary servitude and forced labor for allegedly holding workers against their will at his now-closed Daewoosa Samoa Garment Factory. He’s asking that his case be dismissed because Hawai‘i’s Federal Court does not have jurisdiction.

Lee’s Public Defender, Alexander Silvert, says the High Court of American Samoa is competent to hear the case if it so chooses.

But attorneys for the Justice Department say Lee would not have the same rights accorded other Federal defendants, including the right of appeal, if he were to be tried in the U.S. territory.

Mollway is expected to rule on the motion as early as tomorrow.

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