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Friday, April 18, 2014

Ayuyu detained pending trial

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona yesterday ordered the continued detention of Sen. Juan M. Ayuyu (R-Rota) pending his trial on new charges of obstruction of justice, tampering with witnesses, and attempting to destroy evidence related to his first case—attempting to smuggle endangered fruit bats.

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.

The judge agreed with assistant U.S. attorney Garth Backe that Ayuyu poses a serious risk that he will obstruct or attempt to obstruct justice or threaten or attempt to threaten witnesses or intimidate witnesses.

Manglona said the prosecution has also met the burden of proof that Ayuyu has continued to disregard the law.

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.

The judge stated that if she allows Ayuyu’s pre-trial release, she will require him to submit to a drug test.

On Tuesday, Manglona ordered Ayuyu to submit to a drug test after the prosecution claimed that they have information that the senator has been using illegal drugs.

Yesterday, however, Manglona said that she would no entertain the test results and directed the U.S. Probation Office not to divulge the results.

Manglona cited a Ninth Circuit ruling that addresses random drug testing for pre-trial release and other issues. Based on the case law, there are three grounds that would support such a drug test—consent, probable cause, and totality of circumstances, Manglona said.

The judge noted that Ayuyu did not consent to the test.

Defense attorney Joaquin Torres said the senator asserted his right not to consent to the drug test and that asserting such a right does not mean he lied to a probation officer.

Torres admitted that Ayuyu called Ryan Manglona on the cell phone last Nov. 21 but that only to greet him “happy Thanksgiving” and to talk about a funeral matter.

Torres said the alleged tampering of witnesses issue occurred prior to this new case.

Torres said that since Ayuyu has been on pre-trial release in the first case, there is no evidence that he violated his release conditions.

Federal agents arrested Ayuyu Monday afternoon after a federal grand jury handed down a 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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