Sen. Juan M. Ayuyu (R-Rota) was taken yesterday in federal court for his initial court appearance in connection with the third criminal case filed against him over an incident last January in which he was allegedly found in possession of a cell phone while being detained at the Department of Corrections in Susupe.
At the hearing, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona informed Ayuyu that she is appointing a conflict-free counsel for him.
Attorney Victorino Torres appeared in court for the defendant. Victorino Torres' brother, Joaquin Torres, is counsel for Ayuyu in two separate criminal cases.
Arraignment will be on Friday.
Manglona told Ayuyu about a sealed document that he needs to review.
Torres said they received the document and that they discussed partly its substance.
The latest information charged the 48-year-old Ayuyu with one count of possessing a phone in a federal correctional or detention facility.
According to the charging document filed by assistant U.S. attorney Garth R. Backe, on Jan. 15, 2013, Ayuyu, being an inmate of a prison, was “found to be in possession of a phone or other device used by a user of commercial service.”
Ayuyu is facing criminal charges in two other indictments over an alleged conspiracy to smuggle eight dead Mariana fruit bats from Rota to Saipan in October 2010, concealing the fruit bats inside a cardboard box beneath 40 lbs of lemons. A joint jury trial in the two cases will be on April 1, 2013.
Ayuyu has been in detention since Dec. 17, 2012.