7 Jan 2013

Jailed CNMI senator's bid for release denied

12:54 pm on 7 January 2013

A bid by a Northern Marianas Senator, Juan Ayuyu, to be released to a third-party custodian while waiting for his trial to start has failed to get the approval of the federal court.

Senator Ayuyu has been indicted on charges related to his role in possessing and transporting eight federally protected Mariana fruit bats in 2010.

A District Court chief judge Ramona V. Manglona says the court does not believe that releasing Mr Ayuyu would reasonably assure the safety of witnesses given the nature of the charges, evidence of recent harassment of a party in a different case, and reasons to suspect drug abuse.

The US Attorney Alicia A.G. Limtiaco says Mr Ayuyu has already made threatening statements to a party's counsel while on pre-trial release and that he had been using methamphetamine.