The resignation again of Edward T. Buckingham as Attorney General of the CNMI has no effect to the Office of Public Auditor's criminal case against him, according to OPA legal counsel George L. Hasselback yesterday.
Asked for comment about Buckingham's latest resignation, Hasselback said it does not make any real difference one way or another with the progress of the criminal case.
“I'm still proceeding with the criminal case as it stands. I really don't have any comment on it,” Hasselback said.
The OPA said he is not going to express opinion one way or another with respect to Buckingham's resignation.
“Frankly, it's kind of irrelevant for the purpose of the criminal prosecution,” he said.
Hasselback said he has not spoken to Buckingham, who is now reportedly in the U.S. mainland.
As to the question on how to serve the bench warrant for the arrest of Buckingham, Hasselback said he has no comment as they are still investigating those things.
He said he has no idea if Buckingham is returning to Saipan to face the charges.
OPA filed seven criminal misdemeanor charges against Buckingham.
The five charges were in connection with Buckingham's alleged hosting of a delegate candidate's party at Gov. Benigno R. Fitial's house in August 2010 and Buckingham's approval of a $400,000 sole-source ARRA management contract award in October 2010 to Michael Ada within days of stepping down as a Cabinet secretary.
The two charges-obstructing justice: interference with service of process, and misconduct in public office-were related to Buckingham's alleged use of police officers to escort him at the airport to avoid being served with penal summons between Friday and Saturday.
Last Tuesday, Aug. 7, Wiseman signed a bench warrant that commanded Department of Public Safety acting commissioner Aniceto Ogumoro to arrest Buckingham for his failure to appear at the hearing on Monday, Aug. 6.
Wiseman ordered the DPS commissioner or any law enforcement officer to bring Buckingham before the Superior Court without any unnecessary delay.
The judge set a $50,000 cash bail for Buckingham.
An FBI special agent served Buckingham with the penal summons at the airport shortly after he and his wife left Saipan at 6am Delta flight to Narita, Japan last Aug. 4.