Impeachment trial wraps up after only two days

The kangaroo court continues the so-called impeachment trial of Gov. Ralph Torres without a quorum or a prosecutor.

Day two of the trial began with only four of the CNMI Senate’s nine members: Jude Hofschneider, Victor Hocog, Karl King-Nabors, and Francisco Cruz.

“[G]iven the utmost urgent and exigent activities, events, and circumstances within and relating to the current CNMI Senate impeachment proceedings, we are compelled to recuse ourselves temporarily—AND NOW DO HEREBY TEMPORARILY RECUSE OURSELVES—from the CNMI Senate impeachment proceedings, until such time as the CNMI Superior Court hears and rules on the pending motions requesting a temporary restraining order, mandamus writ, and/or further relief, on an expedited/accelerated basis, which motions were filed May 13-14, 2022, in CNMI Superior Court civil action number 22-0097 D,” wrote Senators Paul Manglona, Edith Deleon Guerrero, and Teresita Santos to Mr. Hofschneider prior to the start of Monday’s trial.

The two remaining senators – Vinnie Sablan and Justo Quitugua – previously recused themselves from the trial, claiming conflicts of interest.

Manglona, Deleon Guerrero, and Santos on Sunday wrote to Hofschneider pointing out his several violations of the impeachment trial rules and claiming the rules themselves should be nullified due to the illegal nature of its promulgation.

As he promised during the debate on the impeachment trial rules, Mr. Manglona did indeed take his colleagues to court on the allegation they violated the Open Government Act and the CNMI Constitution. Both he and taxpayer Patricia Deleon Guerrero sued Torres’s Senate cronies to follow the law. The CNMI Superior Court has yet to hold a hearing on the matter.

The three opposition senators requested for either a 48 hour pause in the trial, or for a pause until the Superior Court rules on the Manglona-Deleon Guerrero lawsuit.

Mr. Hofschneider, however, moved forward with the trial, which began Friday last week.

The proceedings Monday were consistent with Friday’s: the governor was represented, and his attorney was able to enter evidence and witnesses into the record. And no prosecutor was allowed to present the House’s case, or to raise objections to any of the governor’s claims.

Mr. Torres faces trial in the Senate on corruption charges including illegal first class travel, theft, and contempt of the legislature.

The Senate is expected to vote on the articles of impeachment Friday.

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