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Case Number: 1:21-cr-00089-JMS
Judge: J. Michael Seabright
Court: United States District Court for the District of Hawaii (Honolulu County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office
Description: Honolulu, Hawaii criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with one count of knowingly removing classified information concerning the national defense or foreign relations of the United States and retaining it at an unauthorized location.
Asia Janay Lavarello, 31, of Honolulu, admitted to having removed and retained numerous classified documents, writings and notes relating to the national defense or foreign relations of the United States without authority. While working as an Executive Assistant for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii, Lavarello accepted a temporary assignment working at the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines. There, she had access to classified computers and documents, and attended classified meetings as part of her official duties. Court documents list several specific instances in which Lavarello mishandled classified material of the United States.
According to her plea, on March 20, 2020, Lavarello removed classified documents from the U.S. Embassy in Manila. She took the classified documents to her hotel room where she hosted a dinner party later that evening. Among the guests were two foreign nationals. During the party, a co-worker discovered the documents, which included documents classified at the SECRET level. Lavarello’s temporary assignment in the Philippines was ultimately terminated due to her mishandling of SECRET classified documents.
After Lavarello returned to Hawaii, investigators executed a search warrant at her government workplace. In her desk, investigators found a notebook containing Lavarello’s handwritten notes of meetings she attended while working at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. The notes contained facts and information classified at the CONFIDENTIAL and SECRET levels. Investigators determined that Lavarello personally transported the documents to Hawaii, unsecured, and kept the classified notebook at an unsecure location until at least April 13, 2020.
Investigators also discovered that Lavarello included information from the classified notebook in a Jan. 16, 2020, email from her personal Gmail account to her unclassified U.S. Government email account. The information she transmitted over unsecure networks was classified at the SECRET level.
Lavarello pleaded guilty to the charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material and faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) are investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mohammed Khatib of the District of Hawaii and Trial Attorney Stephen Marzen of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting the case.
Unauthorized Removal and Retention of Classified Material: 18 U.S.C. § 1924
Outcome: 07/20/2021 5 EP: Initial Appearance, Waiver of Indictment, Arraignment and Plea of Guilty to the Felony Information held.
Defendant Asia Janay Lavarello, present, not in custody.
Joshua Parker, FBI Special Agent, present.
The Court advised the government of its obligation to produce all exculpatory evidence to the defendant pursuant to Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and its progeny, and orders it to do so. Failing to do so in a timely manner may result in consequences, including exclusion of evidence, adverse jury instructions, dismissal of charges, contempt proceedings, or sanctions by the Court.
Defendant questioned by the Court.
Waiver of Indictment signatures verified, the Court signed and filed.
Memorandum of Plea Agreement signatures verified and filed.
Government presented essential terms of the plea agreement, essential elements of the offense, and an overview of the evidence it would have presented at trial.
Plea of GUILTY entered as to Count 1 of the Felony Information by Defendant Asia Janay Lavarello.
Court accepts the guilty plea, and the Defendant is adjudged guilty.
Referred to presentence investigation and report, SENTENCING is set for 11/04/2021 at 10:00 am in Aha Kaulike before the Honorable J. Michael Seabright.
Discussion held regarding bond conditions.
Court adopts the recommendation of U.S. Pretrial Services.
Unsecured bond in the amount of $25,000 with conditions (See attached minutes for details)
The defendant affirmed that she understood the above conditions of release and the consequences of violating these conditions.
These minutes will serve as the conditions of bond. IT IS SO ORDERED.
Defendant to report to the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Pretrial Services Office for processing at the conclusion of today's hearing.
Arraignment as to Asia Janay Lavarello (1) Count 1 held on 7/20/2021
Plea entered by Asia Janay Lavarello (1): Guilty as to Count 1
***Location start as to Asia Janay Lavarello
Sentencing is set for 11/4/2021 10:00 AM in Aha Kaulike before CHIEF JUDGE J. MICHAEL SEABRIGHT
Bond set as to Asia Janay Lavarello (1): $25,000 Unsecured Bond
(CHIEF JUDGE J. MICHAEL SEABRIGHT)
(jo) (Entered: 07/20/2021)
07/20/2021 6 WAIVER OF AN INDICTMENT by Asia Janay Lavarello
(jo) (Entered: 07/20/2021)
07/20/2021 7 MEMORANDUM OF PLEA AGREEMENT as to Asia Janay Lavarello
(jo) (Entered: 07/20/2021)