U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has once again set a new trial date for Sen. Juan M. Ayuyu (R-Rota), who is facing two charges in an alleged conspiracy to bring eight dead Mariana fruit bats from Rota to Saipan.
In an order issued Friday, Manglona said that after the hearing last week, she discovered she has a scheduling conflict that will not permit trial to start on March 25, 2013.
Ayuyu's trial will now begin on April 1, 2013, at 9am.
“The delay between March 25 and April 1, 2013, is not excludable under the Speedy Trial Act,” the judge said.
On Feb. 8, the prosecution and Ayuyu agreed to continue the trial set for Feb. 19, 2013. The counsels informed the court that the defense needs additional time to prepare based on new discovery, including grand jury transcripts.
The counsels also disclosed that an off-island U.S. government witness is unavailable in February because he has to care for his wife, who is recovering from surgery.
Manglona said Wednesday that because of these factors, the “ends of justice served by granting a continuance outweighed the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial.” The judge then reset trial to begin on March 25, 2013, but then later discovered the court's scheduling conflict.
The first indictment charged Ayuyu and Ryan James Inos Manglona with conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act and Lacey Act, one count of violating the Endangered Species Act, and one count of violating the Lacey Act.
The indictment alleged that on Oct. 17, 2010, Ayuyu and Ryan Manglona conspired to conceal eight dead Mariana fruit bats (Pteropus mariannus mariannus) underneath 40 lbs of lemons inside a cardboard box and to attempt to transport the box to Saipan on a Freedom Air flight.
A separate indictment was returned charging Ryan Manglona with three counts of lying to a grand jury and one count of obstructing justice.
A second indictment charged Ayuyu 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.
The two cases will be tried jointly.
Ryan Manglona worked for the Rota Mayor's Office and was also assigned to perform duties on behalf of the Rota Legislative Delegation. He subsequently pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice.
Ayuyu, 48, pleaded not guilty to all charges.