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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Lawyer: Roberto has yet to receive some evidence related to his case

Former acting CNMI Division of Fish and Wildlife director Raymond Borja Roberto has yet to receive some evidence from the U.S. government that are necessary for his pretrial motions, according to defense counsel Joaquin Torres.

In a declaration, Torres said they have not received the computer analysis and other anticipated discovery that are critical in preparation of Roberto’s pretrial motions.

Torres asked the U.S. District Court for the NMI to allow them to file pretrial motions until Feb. 15, 2014.

Torres said he has already asked assistant U.S. attorney Rami Badawy about extending the filing the pretrial motions and that Badawy does not oppose the request.

Roberto is accused of paying for sex with two female minors. He pleaded not guilty to two charges.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona recently granted Torres’ motion to move the trial date from Jan. 21, 2014, to May 12, 2014, saying she finds the case to be complex and that excludable delay was warranted so that counsels can adequately prepare for trial.

Torres asked to move the trial date due to the voluminous discovery materials they received from the prosecution, the superseding indictment, and the alleged additional victim.

Torres stated that there were still outstanding discovery materials yet to be received.

Assistant U.S. attorney Ross Naughton recently informed the court that electronic items were seized and that they have been sent to Honolulu for forensic analysis.

According to the superseding indictment, from March 1, 2013, to about July 18, 2013, Roberto, “using a facility and means of interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly persuaded, induced, enticed and coerced” two minor girls to engage in sex.

Saipan Tribune learned that Roberto served as acting CNMI Division of Fish and Wildlife for only two days.

FBI agents arrested him last Aug. 31 on charges of coercion and enticement. The case is related to the earlier arrest of firefighter Richard S. Benavente and suspected pimp Annette N. Basa.

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