OAG opposes subpoena of prosecutor


The Office of the Attorney General questions why a former Rota police officer issued a subpoena to a prosecutor as a witness in a case that charges him with sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl.

Assistant attorney general Teri C. Tenorio, counsel for the CNMI government, filed a motion yesterday asking the Superior Court to quash Melvin Maratita Manglona’s subpoena of Betsy Weintraub.

Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho set a hearing on the motion to quash for June 14 at 9am.

Manglona was given until June 12 to reply to the government’s motion.

Tenorio said that last May 31, the defendant, through his counsel, subpoenaed Weintraub as a witness in the case but did not provide any details in support of his subpoena.

Instead, Tenorio said, Weintraub was subpoenaed as though she were an ordinary witness.

“By the law regarding subpoenaing a prosecuting attorney who has been involved in a prosecution is well-settled, and requires far more than what defendant has established here,” she said.

The prosecutor pointed out that the rule applies even to attorneys who have withdrawn from the case in question.

Here, Tenorio said, Weintraub is still involved in an advisory capacity on the case, though she (Tenorio) is now the primary attorney handling the matter.

The prosecutor said Manglona has made no showing whatsoever, let alone a showing that the testimony in question is material to his defense and that it cannot obtained through an alternative source.

Last Jan. 25, Weintraub re-filed the charges against Manglona less than two months after she dismissed the case.

The information charged the 49-year-old Manglona with two counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree and one count of disturbing the peace. These are the same charges in the previous information that the OAG dismissed.

Last Dec. 15, Weintraub moved to dismiss without prejudice the charges against Manglona. Dismissed without prejudice means the government may re-file the case in the future.

Camacho granted the government’s motion that same day.

Camacho also then vacated the jury trial set at the Rota Courthouse for Jan. 10, 2017.

In the government’s voluntary dismissal of the case, Weintraub said the alleged victim and the witnesses in the case reside on Rota, and neither party has had an opportunity to interview them in person.

Weintraub said the government has received information regarding the alleged victim that requires further investigation to determine whether prosecution of Manglona is in the best interest of justice.

The OAG alleged that Manglona sexually abused the 14-year-old girl last July and Aug. 11, 2016, on Rota. The girl told police that the defendant has been sexually abusing her since she was 9 years old.

The trial of Manglona will be on Rota on June 26.

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 ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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