Fitial pleads guilty in CNMI deal

1:45 pm on 7 May 2015

A former Northern Marianas governor, Benigno Fitial, has entered a guilty plea to two offences under an agreement submitted to the Superior Court.

The two offences are misconduct in public office and conspiracy to commit theft of service.

Former governor Benigno Fitial

Former governor Benigno Fitial Photo: RNZ Mark Rabago

The offense of misconduct in public office refers to Mr Fitial's actions related to the temporary departure of a female Chinese prisoner from the Department of Corrections in 2010.

The court has already dismissed this charge but sources say under the plea agreement, both sides agreed to vacate the dismissal.

The conspiracy to commit theft of services refers to Mr Fitial's role related to a former attorney general Edward Buckingham's efforts to evade the serving of a summons during his departure from the CNMI in 2012.

The plea hearing started in the Superior Court via Skype because Mr Fitial is still in the Philippines recovering from a medical condition.

However, the court has now ordered the hearing to continue at a later time because the plea hearing via Skype proved inaudible to Mr Fitial.

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