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SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Mar. 25) – Former Gov. Carl T.C. Gutierrez, former airport executive manager Gerald Yingling, and former chief of staff and former acting Public Works Director Gil Shinohara appeared before Superior Court Judge Katherine Maraman to answer the superseding indictment charging them with redirecting government funds to Gutierrez’s private ranch in Urunao.

Only Gutierrez entered a plea during yesterday’s hearing.

Gutierrez’s attorney David Lujan told the court that his client pleads, "absolutely and positively not guilty on every charge brought against him."

Lujan said Gutierrez will assert his right to a speedy jury trial.

Shinohara and Yingling were present at the hearing but they were without counsel.

Maraman continue will the arraignment hearing for the two former officials on March 31 at 10 a.m.

Maraman will appoint a public defender for Yingling.

Attorney General Doug Moylan said Shinohara is possibly looking for an off-island counsel.

Moylan said Hawaii-based attorney Michael Green might represent Shinohara for this case.

Green also represents Shinohara in a separate federal case.

Maraman set Gutierrez’s jury selection trial for April 20.

Deputy Attorney General Gerad Egan asked the court if the trial date could be postponed, saying that since Gutierrez, Yingling and Shinohara were indicted together, they should go to trial together.

The AG’s Office will file a brief to have the trial date continued and will submit it by March 30.

The three former officials were released on a $5,000 unsecured bond.

But Gutierrez, Yingling and Shinohara are also required to report monthly to the probation office, submit their passports and not leave the island without notifying the court.

Shinohara said he would leave on April 15 to go to Hawaii for a status hearing regarding his federal court case.

March 26, 2004

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