August 14, 2012
The news now is that former Attorney General Edward Buckingham intended to appear telephonically in court on August 6, 2012, but his attorney forgot to tell the judge. The court is asked to believe this outlandish story even though no prior arrangement was made with the court before or after Buckingham made the decision to flee the island to go on "vacation" rather than to stay in Saipan to obey the penal summons that demanded he appear in court.
A bench warrant was issued for his arrest by Superior Court Associate Judge David Wiseman after the arrogant attorney failed to appear.
A two-page motion that attorney Michael Evangelista submitted to the court on behalf of former AG Buckingham requests that the $50,000 bench warrant be "quashed or held in abeyance". It makes the unbelievable claim that "Buckingham was available to appear telephonically during last week's hearing, but Assistant Attorney General Gilbert Birnbrich, who represented the then-AG, "forgot" to inform the judge about it, according to the Marianas Variety.
The Saipan Tribune reports the same crazy story.
Is there anyone in the CNMI who actually believes that former AG Buckingham made prior arrangements to appear telephonically in court on August 6, 2012, but AAG Gilbert Birnbrich forgot to mention that to the judge? Is there anyone who believes that a judge would accept this request after the obstruction of justice fiasco that occurred at the Aquarius Towers where Buckingham's wife lied and said he was not there, at the OAG that would not accept the court summons, or at the Saipan International Airport where an army of thugs, including high level CNMI on-duty law enforcement officials, were ordered to shield Buckingham from being served the summons?
Even if AAG Birnbrich had "remembered" it is highly doubtful that the judge would have accepted the request. If the former Attorney General wanted to appear in court, he would have been there. He made the decision to disobey a court order and thumbed his nose at the law. There was no reason for him to leave the CNMI after being served a summons. None.
Actually, Buckingham did appear telephonically. He appeared telephonically to KSPN News after he became a fugitive. In an arrogant and defiant interview he attacked the Office of the Public Auditor for attempting to interrupt his vacation by filing criminal charges against him! He made it clear that he had no intention of appearing in court. He never mentioned appearing telephonically in court. This latest claim does not jive at all with the telephone interview that he gave KSPN after he became a fugitive from the law.
If the court accepts this pathetic attempt at back-pedaling after very public statements and actions that showed that he had no intention at all of following the court summons, then any criminal could avoid appearing in court and then later give an excuse like: "I was going to appear telepathically but my psychic forgot." "I was going to appear by port key, but I couldn't find it." The excuse that Buckingham was going to appear telephonically is as believable as any of those.
This latest filing is an insult to the intelligence of the good people of the CNMI and to the court. I am amazed that an attorney would file this on behalf of Buckingham. Wow!
Where is the CNMI Bar? Is there no action to disbar Buckingham? Where is the integrity in the CNMI legal community? Has any attorney stepped up to defend Tina Sablan pro bono?