March 21, 2014
|A roadside sign posted during Fitial's impeachment trial|
highlights a few of his many corrupt acts.
Office of the Public Auditor legal counsel Attorney George Hasselback agreed to suspend the arrest warrant for disgraced ex-Governor Benigno Fitial if he voluntarily returned to the CNMI to face seven criminal charges.
CNMI Superior Court Associate Judge David Wiseman quashed the arrest warrant and set Fitial's pretrial hearing date for April 30, 2014. Conditions of his release will be determined at the pre-trial hearing.
From the Saipan Tribune:
Should the former governor fail to appear in court on the designated date and time, the warrant for his arrest will automatically go into full force, Hasselback said.
Fitial should also agree, in writing, to waive any challenges to extradition if he fails to appear in court on the designated date and time.The governor fled from the CNMI in February 2013 with his wife, Josie, to avoid facing charges. For over a year Fitial never contacted authorities even though there was an arrest warrant for his arrest.
Only after it was apparent that the CNMI Government would actively seek extradition of the CNMI's number one corruptor-in-chief, did Fitial weave a sob-story about medical issues and family issues keeping him from returning. He agreed to return if the arrest warrant was quashed. Apparently he expects the people of the CNMI to feel sorry for him, even though they are the recipients of his corrupt acts. Who seriously believes that neither he nor his wife could pick up a phone or send off an email explaining circumstances that kept him from returning the CNMI for over a year?
At the Buckingham trial last month Fitial's nephew Jermaine Nekaifes testified against the former CNMI AG Edward Buckingham. Charges against Nekaifes were dismissed in exchange for his testimony. He will also be required to testify against Fitial as a condition of the dismissal.