10 Mar 2011

Trial of American Samoan man accused of assaulting a US official underway

11:35 am on 10 March 2011

The trial of an American Samoan man accused of assaulting a U.S. government official in Pago Pago is underway in a federal court in Honolulu.

Simeti Lualemaga is charged with striking Mark Cunningham with a machete in March last year, leaving him with a laceration on his face, while part of one ear was cut off.

Mr Cunningham is the station chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in American Samoa and the alleged assault occurred while he was performing his official duties.

It occurred on land that the government agency says it has a valid lease for.