11 Nov 2008

CNMI's Villagomez says charges are outrageous

9:05 am on 11 November 2008

The CNMI's Lieutenant Governor, Timothy Villagomez, is calling for criminal charges against him to be dismissed.

The Lt Governor, former Commerce Secretary James Santos, his sister Joaquina Santos, and former CUC executive director Anthony Guerrero were charged with conspiring to defraud the CNMI government.

Mr Villagomez, James Santos and Joaquina Santos, insist they are innocent.

Mr Guerrero has already entered a guilty plea.

Mr Villagomez's counsel said the U.S. government's conduct in bringing the charges against him was "outrageous."

David Lujan said the U.S. government used "deceptive and coercive" means to fabricate a charge against the lieutenant governor.

The trial of Mr Villagomez, along with his co-defendants, has been set for next March.