Suspended lawyer Antonio M. Atalig was brought to the Superior Court yesterday morning after being arrested on Sunday for allegedly assaulting his two minor children and threatening to kill them and their mother.
He was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery, child abuse, and disturbing the peace. Bail was set at $25,000 cash. Preliminary hearing will be on Aug. 6; arraignment will be on Aug. 13.
Wearing an orange inmate jumpsuit, the 55-year-old Atalig walked slowly to the courtroom of Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho and was escorted by a Corrections officer and a court marshal.
As he sat by the defendant's table, Atalig asked Camacho that his handcuff be removed during the bail hearing. The judge directed the Corrections officer to do so.
Police said the incident happened at Atalig's residence in Papago.
Police detective JB Cepeda stated in his report that a police officer responded to a call of a disturbance at Atalig's residence in Papago on Sunday at 1:15pm.
Cepeda said that when the officer arrived at the house, Atalig's wife and two minor children met him. According to the wife, Atalig told her that he does not want them anymore and that they should leave him as he is going to kill them all.
Atalig also allegedly yelled at the two children to leave the house or he would kill them, prompting the children to cry.
According to the wife, Atalig grabbed a PVC pipe and was about to hit his 10-year-old daughter with it but she held on to the pipe.
Atalig then allegedly slapped his daughter on the right cheek. He allegedly swung the pipe, hitting the left part of her body.
Atalig then allegedly threw a rock at his 9-year-old child, but missed. Atalig picked up another rock, but did not throw it because his wife came out from the house.
The wife started yelling at Atalig that she's calling the police. Atalig walked away.
The responding police officer arrested Atalig at 2pm that same day. While transporting him to the Department of Corrections, another police officer detected a strong odor of an alcohol in Atalig's breath.
Police did not mention whether the child was injured.
In response to Camacho's questions about his financial status, Atalig said he has no job as the court had suspended him from practice and that he has no other means of income.
This prompted Camacho to appoint chief public defender Adam Hardwicke to serve as Atalig's counsel.
Camacho denied both of Hardwicke's motions to release the defendant on his own recognizance and to reduce the bail to $9,250, expressing concern about the safety of Atalig's wife and the children.
Camacho noted that based on the allegations, a metal pipe was used and that Atalig allegedly made threatening words to kill his family.
Camacho also raised concerns that there were past allegation that Atalig set his house on fire during a fight with his wife.
Police arrested Atalig in 2003 for allegedly burning his house in Papago. The fire razed the house's second floor. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disturbing the peace and was sentenced to two days time served in jail.
In May 2012, Superior Court associate judge David A. Wiseman suspended Atalig and attorney Reynaldo O. Yana from practicing law in the CNMI for refusing to return $1.1 million in attorneys' fees that the two obtained from the Angel Malite estate.