Attorney wants to withdraw from election case
by Mindy Aguon
Guam - The 2010 gubernatorial election may be long over, but the losing gubernatorial camp is still pursuing its lawsuit alleging the election was rife with discrepancies and still believing the results should be declared null and void. A civil lawsuit that was filed over Decision 2010 continues to linger even as preparations are underway for the 2012 elections later this year.
The case has taken on a whole new twist and it's all spelled out in court documents as the attorney for the former gubernatorial team of Carl Gutierrez and Frank Aguon, Jr. is trying to withdraw from the case.
Former governor Gutierrez and former senator Aguon, his running mate in the 2010 gubernatorial election, former appear to be at odds. The two filed suit against the current governor and lieutenant governor, the Guam Election Commission and the GEC's board of directors claiming the results of the 2010 gubernatorial election needed to be declared null and void because they believed the election was marred with numerous discrepancies. Earlier this month the case was assigned to Superior Court Judge Arthur Barcinas, who disclosed that he and Governor Eddie Calvo are members on the Juvenile Justice Board.
He gave the parties an opportunity to raise objections with him sitting on the case, something Gutierrez has supported.
On Tuesday however, Gutierrez and Aguon's attorney, David Lujan, attempted to withdraw himself from the case. According to the motion filed with the Superior Court, Lujan contends his clients are at odds over whether the lawsuit should proceed. Lujan cites the Guam Rules of Professional Conduct that states that a conflict of interest exists if the representation of one client will be directly adverse to another client.
Attached to Lujan's motion were two e-mail messages - one from Aguon dated January 19, in which Aguon states that since February 2011 he informed his attorney and Gutierrez that he "will not be part of any future legal challenge or litigation regarding the previous gubernatorial election, due to personal reasons which were discussed extensively with family members." Aguon did not disclose the personal reasons for not wanting to be part of the legal challenge, only stating in the e-mail that "I am further convinced that it has been the appropriate and right decision." He went on to request that he be removed from any association or affiliation with any ongoing court challenge that has "any semblance of the Gutierrez-Aguon 2010 gubernatorial election."
That message was included with a February 7 e-mail from former governor Gutierrez to Attorney Lujan, making it clear he wants the case to continue, even if his former running mate removes himself from the case. Gutierrez wrote, "Mr. Aguon has not put in one red cent while I have expended nearly $40,000.00 all expenditures were at your request. I gave you directly $25,000.00, paid for Attorney Dorono's first class ticket, hotel and car rental which amounted to approximately $7,500.00. I gave stipends to our research team approximately $7,500.00 as well. I kept the verbal commitment of the cost you told me this case will cost."
Gutierrez went on to state he has no problem moving forward with the case because they are ready for trial. He went on to say he wants Judge Barcinas disqualified from the case for reasons other than the fact the judge was a republican appointee.
Gutierrez concluded by writing, "This e-mail is to make it abundantly clear that being abandoned by Senator Aguon leaves me no choice since my family and I borrowed this money while Frank Aguon was simply buying in to Tony Sgro and the Calvo camp...I know you can win this case."
The Guam Election Commission and Calvo & Tenorio believe the case should be thrown out as they don't believe there is any evidence of anything inappropriate that would result in the election results being overturned. As for Lujan's motion to withdraw from the case, the parties are waiting on the court to schedule a hearing on the matter.