Govt fails to submit restitution claim vs Fitial by deadline

Hasselback says he and Fitial’s counsel currently discussing amount of restitution

Former Office of the Public Auditor legal counsel George Hasselback is currently discussing with the lawyer of former governor Benigno R. Fitial regarding the amount of restitution that may be imposed on Fitial in connection with his criminal conviction.

Saipan Tribune checked the Superior Court yesterday and found out that Hasselback, as special prosecutor in this case, has yet to file the CNMI government’s claim for restitution against Fitial.

Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman had directed the government in July to file its claim for restitution on or before Sept. 10, 2015.

Pursuant to the sentence and commitment order on June 26, 2015, Fitial was required to pay restitution in an amount to be determined at a later date.

When asked for comments yesterday, Hasselback said he is currently in talks with the opposing counsel, Stephen Nutting.

“We’re trying to come up with a stipulated amount,” Hasselback said.

He refused to comment further because of the ongoing discussion with Nutting.

Saipan Tribune also contacted Nutting yesterday for comments but his staff said the lawyer was busy at that time.

Last Aug. 18, Fitial, through Nutting, paid the $6,000 fine and $100 court assessment fee that the court imposed on him.

Fitial pleaded guilty on May 13 to misconduct in public office and conspiracy to commit theft of service as part of a plea deal.

Wiseman sentenced Fitial to one year in prison. The former governor was supposed to start serving the prison term last July 6, but Gov. Eloy S. Inos commuted the prison term.

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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