Criminal charges filed vs Torres
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres now faces criminal charges following a complaint filed by the Office of the Attorney General in Superior Court alleging theft, misconduct in public office, and contempt.
Assistant attorney general Robert Glass filed the criminal case against Torres last Friday alleging 12 counts of misconduct in public office and one count of theft relating to the issuance of airline tickets for business class, first class, or other premium class travel for himself and/or Diann T. Torres. The case also alleges one count of contempt for failure to appear in compliance with a subpoena.
In a statement announcing the filing of the charges, Attorney General Edward Manibusan said the charges were filed after months of investigation.
“The charges follow months of thorough investigation by the Office of the Attorney General Investigator Division. The next steps in the process will be to have Gov. Torres arraigned and allow the case to proceed in accordance with the criminal justice system. As this is now an active case, neither I, nor my office, can provide further comments,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Governor issued a statement regarding the pending case yesterday.
“The CNMI Office of the Governor has received a copy of the charges filed by the Attorney General against Gov. Ralph DLG Torres. The Office of the Governor trusts in the CNMl’s justice system and declines to comment further on the pending litigation. The matter has been forwarded to Gov. Torres’ private counsel,” it said.
According to the complaint against Torres, the first two counts of misconduct in public office goes back to April 12, 2018, when Torres allegedly issued himself and his wife first-class airline tickets paid for by local funds.
“On or about April 12, 2018, on Saipan, Torres, while being governor of the CNMI, violated 1 CMC $ 7407(f) in that he caused to be issued airline tickets for business class, first class, or other premium class travel for himself [and Diann Torres] using Commonwealth funds, in violation of and made punishable by 6 CMC $ 3202,” the complaint stated.
Torres allegedly repeated these violations on June 8, July 11, Aug. 13, Aug.t 16, Sept. 25, Nov. 15, Nov. 27, and Dec. 18, 2018, making up the remaining 10 counts of misconduct in public office.
Aside from 12 counts of misconduct, the OAG also charged Torres with theft for the same violations.
Lastly, the OAG is accusing Torres of contempt for his failure to comply with the House Committee on Judiciary & Governmental Operations’ subpoena on Dec. 10, 2021. Torres has already filed suit to contest the power of the committee to subpoena him. A decision in the matter is expected soon.