CNMI government and Fitial eye settlement

3:39 pm on 20 February 2015

A former Northern Marianas governor Benigno R. Fitial's criminal case maybe dismissed after his lawyer and the Office of the Public Auditor confirmed that they are in discussions for an out-of-court settlement.

A Superior Court Associate Judge recently granted OPA's motion to reconsider the dismissal of the criminal charges against Fitial.

In granting the motion, the judge basically reinstated four of the 13 criminal charges against the former governor.

The former governor's lawyer, Stephen Nutting, said almost in every case that is pending, the person prosecuting the case and the person defending him try to work together to see if something can be done short of trial.

OPA legal counsel George Hasselback, for his part, said a plea agreement on the Fitial case is something he is not prepared to discuss publicly.

The remaining four charges against Fitial refer to alleged criminal activity associated with the police escort provided to a former attorney general Edward T. Buckingham in August 2012 that shielded him from being served with penal summons.