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Donastorg Arraignment Postponed

Originally scheduled for 9 a.m. today, an arraignment of veteran V.I. Sen. Adlah “Foncie” Donastorg on multiple assault and weapons charges was postponed until March 25, according to the V.I. Department of Justice.

“It’s been pushed back, postponed, for two weeks at the request of the prosecution,” said DOJ spokeswoman Sara Lezama.
Prosecutors asked for more time “for further investigation,” Lezama said, after the woman who originally made the charges changed her story.
The charges stem from a domestic dispute in late January between Donastorg and his self-described girlfriend, who has since changed her story and unleashed a political maelstrom with claims that she was bribed by two people close to the John deJongh Jr. administration to file a false complaint with police.
Donastorg turned himself in to police and was arrested on March 4 and then released until his advice of rights hearing the following morning, after which he was released without bail.
Ketura Ernest, 19, first told police that Donastorg threatened her and a female friend with a gun when they showed up unannounced to the senator’s St. Thomas residence on Jan. 28. In her original signed statement to police, she said Donastorg, whom she then claimed was her lover, roughed her up before dropping her off at her mother’s house.
On Monday, however, her attorney, Judith Bourne, published a statement by Ernest saying it was all a misunderstanding, that Donastorg “did not point a gun at anyone” and that she was pressured and offered $150,000 by Lavelle Campbell and Lesley Comissiong to “bring Adlah down.”
Comissiong has since publically denied the woman’s accusation.
In her latest statement – which contradicts or twists almost everything represented in the statement she signed for police that would implicate Donsastorg in a crime – Ernest turned the blame on police, accusing a detective and other officers of manipulating her statement and of trying to get her to “blackmail Adlah.”
It remains unclear just what effect, if any, Ernest’s dramatic revision will have on the territory’s case against Donastorg. Prosecutors have already asked for two more weeks to investigate.
During Donastorg’s advice of rights hearing on March 4, Assistant Attorney General Christine Thomas said it was common for victims of domestic violence to change their story, but the state still has an obligation to pursue the charges.
A married father of six, Donastorg, 48, is expected to be charged with aggravated assault, assault in the third degree under specific domestic violence laws, brandishing a weapon a deadly weapon and using a dangerous weapon in the commission of a crime of violence.
If convicted, Donastorg faces a minimum of one year in prison and a maximum of five years for the most serious weapons charge alone. He could face eight years or more in prison if convicted on all charges.

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