The attorney representing Lieutenant General Hun Manet in a lawsuit filed against him in a U.S. federal court said claims that the case had moved forward after a meeting between a judge and lawyers on Thursday were misleading.
“The Court did not decide that the case should ‘move forward,’” John Purcell, an attorney at U.S. law firm Quinn Emanuel wrote in an email on Friday night.
“It’s more accurate to say the judge decided he needed some more information before he could decide (i) whether General Manet was properly served with the complaint and (ii) whether the case against General Manet should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction over him.”
Lt. Gen. Manet is facing two lawsuits, both filed by attorney Morton Sklar, who has often worked with the opposition CNRP.
The first was filed on behalf of opposition official Meach Sovannara, who is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence in Cambodia over a protest that turned violent in 2014. The second was filed on behalf of Paul Hayes, a process server who says Lt. Gen. Manet’s bodyguards beat him as he was trying to deliver a subpoena in the first case.
In an email on Thursday, Mr. Sklar said he was pleased that Judge George Wu had asked lawyers for more information about the suits filed with the district court in Los Angeles.
“In short, Judge Wu accepted our argument that jurisdictional discovery was the best method for obtaining factual information on the case,” he said.
It remains unclear if Lt. Gen Manet, the eldest son of Prime Minister Hun Sen, had any direct ties to the imprisonment of Mr. Sovannara, a U.S. citizen. Mr. Sklar said in an email last month that the beating of Mr. Hayes while the general was visiting California in April was key to having the case proceed.
“It is highly unusual here in the US for criminal investigations and cases to be taking place involving high level officials of foreign governments,” he said in an email on August 24.
“Of course, the reason they are happening is the violent attack on Paul Hayes, the process server in the case, which was a very unusual and unexpected event.”