9 Jul 2014

CNMI former governor wants charges dropped

4:08 pm on 9 July 2014

The disgraced Northern Marianas governor, Benigno Fitial, claims the Office of the Public Auditor had no authority to bring charges against him.

Mr Fitial is asking the Superior Court to dismiss the criminal charges that have been filed against him.

Mr Fitial's lawyer, Stephen Nutting, argues that under the constitution the public auditor cannot bring criminal charges against a former governor.

Former CNMI governor Benigno Fitial

Former CNMI governor Benigno Fitial Photo: RNZ Mark Rabago

He says this becomes more significant when many of the charges involve an imaginative reading of vague and ambiguous statutes, and vague charges that Mr Fitial's conduct violated some unidentified and unstated CNMI law or regulation.

In May this year the public auditors office filed a complaint, charging Mr Fitial with 10 criminal charges.

It later added 3 more.