10 Nov 2006

Jury in CNMI trial fails to agree verdict in endangered species case

10:45 am on 10 November 2006

A U.S. federal court has declared a mistrial in the case of a Saipan businessman indicted for taking endangered species, after a jury hearing the case could not reach a unanimous verdict.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge , Alex Munson, ordered a new trial for Soleman.

Soleman who allegedly instructed his employees to cut tangan-tangan trees in 2005 and turn them into charcoal that was to be sold to the public.

The Assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case said Soleman didn't have a permit for clearing the land.

Tangan-tangan or "weed" trees are the territorial habitats of nightingale reed warblers, which can be found only on the islands of Saipan and Alamagan.