Man in cyberstalking case pleads not guilty


Brian T. Palacios has pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging him in federal court with cyberstalking, the first such criminal case filed in the CNMI.

At a hearing on Friday, Palacios, through court-appointed counsel Steven Pixley, waived the formal advisement of his constitutional rights and the reading of the charges against him.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona set the jury trial for Feb. 17, 2016.

Manglona granted special assistant U.S. attorney Mohammad Khatib’s oral motion to keep Palacios detained pending further proceedings.

The detention hearing will be today, Dec. 15, at 10am before Magistrate Judge Heather L. Kennedy.

Palacios was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal after the hearing.

In the U.S. government’s motion, Khatib said this case is eligible for a detention hearing because it involves a serious risk that Palacios will obstruct or attempt to obstruct justice, among other factors.

Khatib also seeks a protective order, saying the documentary evidence contains a large quantity of privacy-protected information that would be difficult or time-consuming to redact.

Khabit said the material consists of approximately 70 megabytes of data corresponding to more than 9,000 pages of information, nearly every page of which contains privacy-protected information.

According to the indictment, between April 19 and Sept. 15, 2015, Palacios used the Internet to disseminate harassing and threatening messages against the victim, placing that person and the spouse in fear of death and of serious bodily injury and causing substantial emotional distress to the victim and the victim’s spouse.

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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