[Stop-traffic] News/US: Sex slave trial begins in Little Rock

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/US: Sex slave trial begins in Little Rock
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Tue Jul 11 2000 - 09:53:55 EDT


Sex slave trial begins in Little Rock
By JAMIE STENGLE
(AP), July 11, 2000

Little Rock (AP) - After some logistical problems accommodating four
Cantonese translators, jury selection got underway in a federal trial of
five people accused of participating in a scheme to bring Chinese women to
Arkansas for sex.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Pat Harris told potential jurors Monday that the
trial would last about three or four weeks.

Harris asked potential jurors what they thought of the government
prosecuting over immigration issues. One man was dismissed after he said he
didn't think it was correct for the government to send 6-year-old Elian
Gonzalez back to Cuba.

U.S. District Judge George Howard Jr. had to move the trial from his small
courtroom to one of the largest at Little Rock's federal courthouse.

Once testimony begins, it may be necessary to bring in a translator who
speaks Mandarin Chinese.

The defendants include former Little Rock television executive David Jewell
Jones, who is a Henderson State University trustee. Also on trial are
former state Rep. Mark Riable of Little Rock, Fordyce dentist Bob Newton
Rushing and Little Rock restaurateur Tony Ma and his wife Mary Ma.

The five are accused of breaking federal immigration laws.

Included in a grand jury's allegations was an attempt by Jones to arrange a
student visa for a woman and that Riable conducted a sham wedding.

According to the July 7, 1998, indictment, the defendants carried out a
conspiracy from October 1991 through May 1997 to secure the unnamed Chinese
women's entry into the United States for the purpose of sexual
relationships with Jones. The indictment accuses Jones of having
nonconsensual sex with one of the women.

Jones faces charges of conspiracy to commit visa-marriage fraud, making a
false visa application, harboring an illegal alien and obstruction of justice.

The indictment accuses Riable, a lawyer and former municipal judge, of
performing a sham marriage Oct. 13, 1992, in Jones' van between one of the
women and Rushing. Riable faces charges of conspiracy and making a false
visa application. Rushing faces a conspiracy count.

The Mas, Chinese emigrants who live in Mabelvale, are accused of telling a
woman not to report sexual encounters with Jones to authorities.

Tony Ma faces the same counts as Jones, plus unlawful procurement of
citizenship. Mary Ma faces counts of conspiracy, harboring an illegal
alien, obstruction of justice and unlawful procurement of citizenship.

Two of the four translators at work Monday spoke into headsets that fed to
black plastic headphones worn by the Mas. Twice, the headphones gave out,
causing delays.

Two other translators sat with the Mas, helping them communicate with their
lawyers.

Defense attorney Rita Looney said a Mandarin interpreter may be brought in
for a government witness. Two Chinese women - known in court documents as
"Miss W" and "Miss Z" - and several people from overseas have been called
as witnesses.

Patricia Murray, Howard's courtroom deputy, said 59 prospective jurors are
being selected from a larger pool and then lawyers will be able to
eliminate individual jurors.

"With five defendants and the government, there's no telling how long it
will take," Murray said.

Melanie Orhant <<morhant@igc.org>>
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Stop-traffic is facilitated, international electronic list
funded by the Women's Reproductive Health Initiative
of the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH)
dealing with human rights abuses associated with trafficking
in persons, with an emphasis on public health and trafficking
in persons for forced labor, including forced prostitution,
sweatshop labor, domestic service and some coercive mail
order bride arrangements.
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