December 17, 2012
In October 2012 Senator Ayuyu was arrested with co-conspirator Ryan Inos Manglona for smuggling fruit bats from Rota to Saipan. They were charged with violating the Endangered Species and Lacey Acts. Fruit bat is an endangered species and a favorite food of the Rotanese.
Yesterday the Senator was indicted on the following charges: conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding, obstructing an official proceeding, tampering with a witness, suborning perjury, attempting to prevent testimony of a witness, obstructing the due administration of justice, attempting to remove and destroy seized property.
Today, according to the Marianas Variety, he is in jail. The court documents state that Ayuyu encouraged Ryan Manglona to lie to the grand jury, told a conservation officer to stop investigating him and conspired to destroy evidence.
Ryan Manglona has admitted his guilt and is cooperating with the U.S.
Today, the U.S. Attorney Office filed a motion to detain Ayuyu. The motion stated that the defendant faces up to 20 years in prison on several counts charged in the indictment. The motion lists the number of times Ayuyu used his office to threaten and intimidate witnesses.
The motion notes that Ayuyu threatened Rep. .Janet Maritita in an unrelated incident on December 7, 2012:
"The Defendant’s dangerousness to the community is not limited to the obstructive conduct outlined above and in the Indictment. On December 7, 2012, this Court heard compelling testimony from Rep. Janet U. Maratita about threats the Defendant made against her in an attempt to bully and intimidate her in connection with a matter under consideration by the Legislature. While the Court ultimately found that these threats did not constitute a violation of the CNMI criminal code in the context of a bail revocation hearing, there is no doubt that these threats were made and that they profoundly disturbed and upset Rep. Maratita to the point where she was considering resigning from the Legislature. These threats also demonstrate this Defendant’s proclivity to use threats and intimidation against individuals who he perceives as adversaries or who pose a danger to him. . .
. . . The Defendant’s past conduct also cuts in favor of detention. While on pre-trial release in this case – a time when the Court should rightfully expect a defendant to be on his best behavior – this Defendant threatened to kill a fellow legislator. Why? Because that legislator had the temerity to take a position on a matter affecting all of the CNMI which was contrary to his. Was his threat serious? Rep. Maratita certainly thought it was, and this Court witnessed the lasting effect it had on her during her testimony. Her testimony was compelling and vividly showed the type of intimidation and harassment the Defendant is capable of.UPDATE: On December 18, 2012 (Saipan time), Senator Ayuyu appeared in court with his attorney and pleaded not guilty to charges. He was ordered by the court to be drug tested "after the court received additional information from the government."
The hearing on the motion to detain Ayuyu was continued until December 19, 2012 at 10:30am.
Ayuyu was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshall. Ayuyu's trial is set for February 19, 2013. See court document here.