Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman issued this morning, Monday, a bench warrant for the arrest of Attorney General Edward T. Buckingham for not appearing in court despite penal summons served on him by an FBI special agent.
Wiseman imposed a $50,000 cash bail for Buckingham.
Wiseman ruled that he does not find any justifiable excuse for the AG not appearing in court.
The judge said assistant attorney general Gil Birnbrich, who appeared as counsel for Buckingham, has no lawful authority to represent a criminal defendant.
Office of Public Auditor legal counsel George L. Hasselback stated that if Buckingham requested for continuance of the hearing he would have gladly done so.
Hasselback said Buckingham's order for Birnbrich to appear as his counsel is improper and another waste of public resources.
“Buckingham is a criminal defendant,” Hasselback stressed.
OPA filed on Friday criminal charges against Buckingham in connection with his alleged hosting of a delegate candidate's party at Gov. Benigno R. Fitial's house in August 2010 and the AG's approval of a $400,000 sole-source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act management contract award in October 2010 to Michael Ada within days of stepping down as Commerce secretary.
Buckingham was served with the penal summons at the airport shortly after he and his wife left Saipan at 6am Delta flight to Narita, Japan on Saturday.
More details to follow