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Torres pleads not guilty

Updated: Apr 26


Ralph Torres

By Bryan Manabat


Saipan-- CNMI Gov. Ralph DLG Torres pled not guilty to the charges of misconduct in public office, theft and contempt filed by the CNMI Office of the Attorney General at an arraignment hearing Monday morning.


Torres appeared before Judge Pro Tempore Alberto E. Tolentino represented by attorneys Victorino Torres, Viola Alepuyo and Anthony Aguon.


As lead counsel for Torres, it was Alepuyo who entered a not-guilty plea on behalf of her client.


“My client, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, is innocent. Therefore, he enters a plea of not guilty,” she said.


Alepuyo also requested to formally waive the reading of the charges and advisement of the defendant’s constitutional rights.


She also asked the judge to allow her client to waive appearance in the court proceedings unless he has to testify or if the court orders it.


Tolentino granted the request orally.


Chief Solicitor J. Robert Glass Jr. informed the court that he would not request any pretrial release conditions for the governor.


Glass said he had received discovery requests from the defense attorneys. He said he was now submitting those discovery requests to the court.


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He told the court that the government is ready for trial.


On April 8, the Office of the AG filed a criminal case against Torres alleging misconduct in public office, theft, and contempt.

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The case against the governor is related to the issuance of airline tickets for business class, first class, or other premium class travel for himself and first lady Diann T. Torres.


The AG’s office also alleged one count of contempt for the governor’s failure to appear in compliance with a House committee subpoena.


The governor, in a lawsuit, has asked the court to declare that the subpoena violates a CNMI statute.


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CNMI Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexandro Castro appointed Guam Superior Court Judge Alberto E. Tolentino as judge pro tempore after the local trial court judges recused themselves from the case.


At the hearing, Alepuyo informed the court that the defense will file a motion to disqualify the Office of the Attorney General, and a motion to dismiss the charges against the Governor.


“We anticipate filing the motions on Monday, May, 2,,” she said.





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