‘Torres looking forward to his day in court’


The jury trial date for Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ criminal case in Superior Court has been pushed back from July 5 to a date that has yet to be determined by the court. However, Torres’ defense counsel says the governor is ready for his day in court, whenever that may be.

Torres and his entire defense team appeared yesterday before judge pro tem Alberto Tolentino at the CNMI Superior Court for a case management conference.

During the conference, Tolentino informed the parties that he needed more time to address the pending motions before him, including the motion to disqualify the attorney general, and the motion to dismiss the case entirely for “selective and vindictive prosecution.”

The court initially scheduled a jury trial on July 5 but, after informing the parties that he needed more time to rule on the pending motions before him, Tolentino vacated the July 5 trial date and converted that day to a trial setting conference.

Torres’ lawyers said in a joint statement that Torres looks forward to the jury trial, whenever the date may be, but only asks that the court give him ample time to free at least two weeks of his schedule for it.

“Governor Torres looks forward to his day in court, but respects the court’s order and appreciates the attention that the court is giving to the very serious motions that are before it,” the lawyers said.

Viola Alepuyo, Victorino Torres, and Anthony H. Aguon represented Torres in his case management conference yesterday; while Office of the Attorney General chief solicitor Robert Glass, and assistant attorney general Steve Kessel represented the prosecution.

Aside from vacating the July 5 trial date, Tolentino also vacated the motion hearing for June 21, and instead scheduled a status conference for the date. Parties were ordered to submit their proposed jury instructions, witness list, and exhibit lists before the conference.

In addition, the parties must be prepared to submit their proposed voir dire questions and to discuss potential notice of expert witnesses.

The judge also ordered the prosecution to submit their oppositions to the defense’s motions by June 20, while replies are due on June 29. The hearing on all motions and oppositions is now set for June 30, at 9am.

The court also granted the defense’ request for Chamorro and Carolinian interpreters during trial.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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