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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Lawyer to verify whether phone indeed found in Ayuyu’s cell at DOC

Attorney Joaquin Torres said yesterday that he wants to see his client, detained Sen. Juan M. Ayuyu (R-Rota), to verify news report that he was placed in isolation at the Department of Corrections after a mobile phone was found in his cell last week.

Torres in an interview said can’t comment because he does not know anything about the allegation or the report.

“I don’t even know if it’s true or not,” the lawyer said, adding that neither the U.S. Probation Office nor any other federal or CNMI agencies have contacted him yet about the issue.

Torres also pointed out that he does not know what the regulations of the Department of Corrections as to whether a cellphone is allowed or not.

The defense lawyer said he also can’t recall any court order prohibiting the senator from using a cellphone.

As of press time, DOC commissioner Ramon Mafnas has not issued a press statement about the alleged incident.

Last Dec. 19, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted the U.S. government’s motion to detain Ayuyu pending trial in connection with a new indictment charging him with obstruction of justice for allegedly threatening and tampering with witnesses and attempting to destroy evidence related to his first case.

After listening to the counsels’ arguments, Manglona ruled that the prosecution has met the burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence to continue detaining Ayuyu pending trial.

Manglona remanded the 48-year-old Ayuyu into the custody of the U.S. Marshal.

Manglona cited the senator’s conduct when he called on the cell phone Ryan James Inos Manglona, his co-defendant in the first case, despite a pre-trial release order prohibiting him from contacting the co-defendant.

Federal agents arrested Ayuyu last month after a federal grand jury handed the new indictment charging him with conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding, obstructing an official proceeding, tampering with a witness, suborning perjury, attempting to prevent testimony of a witness, obstructing the due administration of justice, and attempting to destroy or remove seized property.

Ayuyu pleaded not guilty.

Ayuyu is currently under indictment for violations of the Endangered Species Act and the Lacey Act for his role in possessing and transporting eight federally protected Mariana fruit bats on Oct. 17, 2010.

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