Gov. Benigno R. Fitial has been impeached by the 18th House of Representatives on 13 charges of felony, corruption and neglect of duty from Monday morning to afternoon, marking the first time in the history of the CNMI and any U.S. territory that a governor has been impeached.
The House will resume session Tuesday, to deliberate on and vote on the remaining five articles of impeachment.
With the House adopting the articles of impeachment, the process moves to the Senate for trial.
The governor can be impeached and convicted on any of the 18 allegations of corruption, felony and neglect of duty in House Resolution 18-2.
If and when the Senate convicts Fitial on any or all of the charges, Fitial will only be the ninth governor in the United States to be impeached and removed from office.
The articles adopted by the 20-member House as of past 5pm include those in connection with the unauthorized release of a federal inmate to give the governor a massage at his private residence in the wee hours of the morning in January 2010; signing of a sole-source $190.8 million power purchase agreement; award of a sole-source ARRA management contract worth almost $400,000; failure to remove a former attorney general for violation of federal and local election laws; conspiring with others to shield the same former AG, now a fugitive from justice, from being served a penal summons in connection with criminal charges filed against him; and failure to timely appoint members of the Civil Service Commission.
The articles voted on in the order they were deliberated on and voted on were Articles I, II, III, V, VII, IV, VI, XI, VIII, XVI, IX, X and XII.
More information in Tuesday’s paper.