April 28, 2013
KSPN News reports that CNMI Attorney General Joey San Nicolas has subpoenaed the unpublished notes and recordings of Marianas Variety reporter Tammy Doty. For such a controversial action that is an assault on First Amendment rights, one would expect that the criminal case must be extremely serious.
Wrong. This is not about vital cases that scream for investigation and prosecution. Cases like the many unsolved CNMI rapes and murders, cases like a member of the DPS attacking a reporter at the airport, cases like a police officer brutally beating an innocent man; or the hundreds of other relevant cases that have gone unprosecuted to the detriment of the victims and the public.
No, this is about Saipan resident Brian Kendall making remarks at the governor's office that were somehow interpreted as a "terroristic threat."
Some background from a previous Unheard No More! post:
During the last days of former governor Benigno Fitial's tyrannical rule, an outspoken Saipan citizen, Brian Kendall, was arrested after a visit to the Governor's Office Building. He was arrested for making alleged threats against then governor Fitial and charged with making a terrorist threat against the governor and disturbing the peace.
It seemed clear to many at the time that it was a politically motivated and unjustified arrest. It seems clearer today.
At the time of the arrest, Fitial's then adviser John Joyner went on KSPN News and publicly claimed that when Brian was at the governor's office building he made threatening statements. Brian Kendall said he did not threaten the governor. From the Marianas Variety:
“I never said I was going to kill Fitial but I may have said ‘I’m surprised there’s not more armed public outrage at the governor’s back door,’ ” said Kendall.In fact, as I wrote in a previous post, Fitial Reinforcing His Castle, if Kendall actually made terroristic threats to the governor then he would have been immediately arrested. In fact, he was arrested the day after the alleged incident. He was arrested only after the police and Fitial thugs could coordinate the affidavits to justify the trumped up charges.
Now Joyner is admitting that he was coerced into making statements that ultimately led to Kendall's arrest. From the Marianas Variety:
Apparently, Joyner was “stunned” at the arrest of Kendall because he never told officers that Kendall directly threatened the life of Fitial as stated in the prosecution’s affidavit.
In a round-robin telephone clarification campaign on Friday, Joyner himself phoned Kendall’s public defender Benjamin Petersburg and the prosecutor.
It is shameful that the charges have not been dropped. More shameful that the OAG is attempting to use its authority to request protected notes and audio tapes from a newspaper and reporter to bolster what appears to be a weak case.During the conversations Joyner described a rash of interviews with police wherein they coached his language of the now debunked “terrorist” exchange in order to justify Judge David Wiseman’s signature on the arrest warrant.The arrest of Brian Kendall appears to be one of the final vindictive acts from a flailing, narcissistic governor who was going down and wanted to take out anyone who he perceived as a contributor to his political demise.
What is the OAG doing to assist with the extradition of former Attorney General, now fugitive Edward Buckingham? What charges, if any, will the OAG file against former Governor Benigno Fitial? Is this office too busy attempting to suppress the freedom of speech of citizens and reporters to go after the real criminals?