Defense lawyer cries foul vs prosecutor’s word use


A defense lawyer has taken issue with a prosecutor’s alleged use of the word c_____r to refer to him and moved to have the testimony of the government’s first witness stricken from the record.

Victorino DLG. Torre, who is representing a man accused of punching a customer at a Garapan bar, disclosed Thursday that assistant attorney general Betsy Weintaub referred him as a “c_____r” last Tuesday.

Torres made the declaration in support of David Aguon’s motion to strike testimony of police detective Flora Aguon, the government’s witness.

When asked for comments, Weintraub cited the Rules of Professional Responsibility, saying it prohibit attorneys from publicly commenting on pending litigation.

“I will not violate those rules, even to defend myself from personal attacks,” Weintraub said.

The government was given until today to file any opposition to Aguon’s motion to strike.

Torres said he raised this issue with Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph Camacho, and that Weintraub admitted referring to him with such a word, but stated that it was a private conversation between herself and her co-counsel, assistant attorney general Jonathan Wilberscheid.

He said Weintraub stated in similar fashion that she may “cuss like a sailor” but will not lie to the court.

Torres said he did not seek sanctions or any remedy but merely requested that the prosecutor refrain from further misconduct.

In fact, Torres said, he expressly informed Camacho that he was not seeking for any sanctions but that such misconduct shall be discontinued.

“The purpose for admitting the previous inappropriate comment is that it is relevant when the court determines the compounding misconduct of the prosecutor,” he said. “In my 15 years of practice, this is the first time that I have had to experience anything like this.”

In Aguon’s motion to strike testimony, Torres said after Camacho has stricken Aguon’s in-court and out-of-court identification of the defendant, Weintraub deliberately engaged in having the detective do another in-court identification.

Torres said this constituted the third identification by the detective, all of which Camacho has determined improper.

“On the most recent violation, the severity cannot be overstated,” he pointed out.

Another cursory instruction will not be a deterrent enough for Weintraub to understand the severity of her actions.

In the middle of the jury trial, the prosecution moved the court on Wednesday to allow the government to dismiss the lesser-included offenses of assault and battery, and disturbing the peace.

Camacho granted the motion.

This leaves the 31-year-old Aguon with only the aggravated assault and battery charge.

The trial will continue today. The jury trial began on Monday last week.

Aguon had testified that police officer Jason Tarkong showed her a photo of Aguon. Tarkong later denied showing Aguon any photo.

The defense’s position is that the alleged victim was drunk and foulmouthed at the White and Black Bar in Garapan in March 2016.

Holley and Torres have clarified that Aguon is not a mixed martial artist.

Police said the victim, Christopher Broome, was taken to the hospital due to injuries to the bridge of his nose that required seven stitches.

Police said Broome told a police officer that he was punched in the face and was knocked out. Broome later identified the suspect inside the Tribes Bar in Garapan. Police then arrested Aguon.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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