.... “It is worth noting that all of these unwarranted and illegal and arbitrary actions on the part of the Solicitor-GeneralTuan were being carried out in the presence of judicial security officers assigned to the basement where the jurors have been sequestrated,” Massaquoi noted.
Lawyers representing former Chief Justice Gloria Musu Scott in the ongoing murder trial have filed a complaint to the Supreme Court, requesting a full-scale investigation of a reported jury tampering incident involving Solicitor General, Cllr. Nyanti Tuan.
Beside request for Tuan's investigation, the defense lawyers also prayed to the Supreme Court to issue an alternative writ of certiorari against Judge Roosevelt Willie of Criminal Court 'A' to halt further proceedings in the murder case, and to set a new date and time, at the convenience of the judge, to show why he denied the early request for a full-scale investigation into the matter.
The former Chief Justice’s lawyers want Willie’s ruling to be set-aside and for the high court to order him to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the jury tampering allegation.
Cllr. Jonathan T. Massaquoi, one of Scott’s lead lawyers, said If the results of the investigation establish that there was jury tampering, the trial must be terminated and the defendants be released.
Massaquoi argued that Judge Willie was in error in not investigating the complaint of Jury tampering, noting "the trial court was under a mandatory legal obligation to investigate the allegation and that it was a reversible error for the judge to refuse to conduct the requested investigation."
According to Massaquoi, on September 13, Tuan drove to the Temple of Justice at about 9:30 p.m. and ordered the judicial security in person of Marcus Cleon to open the gate. When he was queried by the judicial security officer on assignment, he forcefully gained entry to the compound. He proceeded to the petit jurors sworn and sequestrated under the basement.
Massaquoi claims that Tuan also proceeded into the petit jurors/trial jurors and is believed to have had discussions and even extended financial consideration to the jurors with the hope of returning the verdict in favor of the Government that is prosecuting Scott and several of her family members.
“It is worth noting that all of these unwarranted and illegal and arbitrary actions on the part of the Solicitor-GeneralTuan were being carried out in the presence of judicial security officers assigned to the basement where the jurors have been sequestrated,” Massaquoi noted.
He said when the matter was brought to the attention of the Chief of Judiciary Security, he forwarded the matter to General Nathaniel Dickinson, Marshall of the Supreme Court.
"General Dickson ordered an immediate preliminary investigation regarding the interaction of the judicial security officer Marcus Cleon and Solicitor- General, Cllr. Nyenati Tuan. established that Tuan was present at the gate adjoining the Liberia National Police Headquarters and also made a forceful entry in the temple of justice yard and proceeded to the basement where the petit jurors are being sequestrated," he claims.
He explained to Tuan used his officially assigned pickup along with other police officers to forcibly make their way to the jury quarters.
However, Massaquoi said, the preliminary report into Tuan's direct and forceful entry into the temple of justice yard during unusual hours also established that he intended to and made access to the trial jurors without the approval of the court, neither with the participation of the Defense Attorney.
"The conclusion of the preliminary investigation, the findings therefrom, was submitted to the court administrator who also attention to Judge Willie to conduct a proper investigation and action since the alleged conduct of the Solicitor-General seems to impair the dignity and independence of administration of justice " Scott’s lawyer contended.
Massaquoi added Willie was to conduct a full-scale investigation with the participation of all the parties.who may have interacted with him (Solicitor-General, Cllr. Nyenati Tuan), how they interacted with him and when they interacted with him.
He said Judge Willie halted the trial on September 18, 2023 and cited all the parties (Defense and Prosecuting attorneys) to a conference.
According to Massaquoi, the judge during the conference asked the Solicitor-General about the allegation of visiting the premises of the temple of justice building, particularly where the jury is sequestered.
"Solicitor-General, Clr. Nyenati Tuan, admitted gaining access to premises where Jurors are being sequestered and quickly noted that he did not want the recurrence of what happened in theUS$100,000,000.00 drug case, and that he visited the trial jury premises at about 5: 30 p.m. especially so when trial had been adjourned," argued Massaquoi.