CONVICTED CNMI OFFICIAL ALLOWED TO TRAVEL

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Court allows Guerrero to visit family on mainland

By Ferdie de la Torre

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Sept. 17, 2008) – The federal court has allowed former Commonwealth Utilities Corp.'s executive director Anthony C. Guerrero to travel off-island and visit his family in the U.S. mainland.

[PIR editor’s note: Guerrero, Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Villagomez, former Commerce Secretary James Santos, and his wife Joaquina Villagomez Santos were indicted with conspiring to defraud CUC out of thousands of dollars through needless chemical purchases for CUC. Guerrero signed a plea agreement and entered a guilty plea. Villagomez and the Santos couple pleaded not guilty. ]

In addition, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Alex R. Munson rescheduled Guerrero's sentencing hearing-currently set for Nov. 12, 2008, at 9am-to Feb. 27, 2009, at 9am.

Munson permitted Guerrero to travel out of the CNMI from Sept. 22, 2008, through Oct. 6, 2008, based on a stipulation entered by the former CUC official and the U.S. Attorney's Office.

In granting the stipulation, the judge ordered that Guerrero's passport be returned to him to allow him to travel.

Munson directed Guerrero to provide the U.S. government a physical address for the places where he will stay as well as a cellular phone number where he may be reached at all times.

Lawyer Robert T. Torres, counsel for Guerrero, and assistant U.S. attorney Eric O'Malley, representing the U.S. government, signed the stipulation on Thursday.

The parties agreed to let Guerrero depart the CNMI on Sept. 22 and then return to the Commonwealth on Oct. 6.

Guerrero said he would visit his immediate family in Portland, Oregon; Boise, Idaho; and Washington state.

Guerrero has conferred with U.S. Probation Office's Melinda Brunson regarding his intended departure request.

The parties also requested to reschedule Guerrero's sentencing hearing to late February 2009 and set a deadline for the pre-sentence investigation report in early January 2009.

The parties said the jury trial for Guerrero's co-defendants will be continued to a date in January.

Guerrero and the U.S. maintained that sentencing after the jury trial date for the former CUC official would be appropriate as well as in the interests of justice.

In granting the stipulation, Munson reset to Jan. 9, 2009, the deadline for the pre-sentence investigation report that was originally set for Oct. 8, 2008.

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