Rep. Corina Magofna released a stamp-received document showing she, indeed, filed the CNMI House of Representatives’s notice to appear in the trial of Ralph Torres. Senate president Jude Hofschneider repeatedly has accused the House leadership of failing to timely file its notice to appear – a formal document in the impeachment trial process informing the Senate of the prosecution’s entry into the case.
“Mr. Senate President, I’m here to set the record straight,” Ms. Magofna read into the record of the Senate session Friday, when Torres’s Senate cronies ultimately failed to muster the votes to dismiss the articles of impeachment against him. “On March 30 at approximately 2:29 pm,” she continued, “I filed my Notice to Appear. Your office received this Notice. You should be aware of this Notice. Whether you to choose to acknowledge them or not, the facts are the facts.”
Waving a copy of the document, Ms. Magofna, appealing to the people of the CNMI, she reproached Hofschneider for telling the people of the CNMI a different story to fit the Torres narrative that his cronies were following the rules. The document does in fact bear an official stamp showing Hofschneider’s office received the notice to appear two hours before the deadline.
“I don’t appreciate Senator Hofschneider telling the public that I ‘failed to timely file an appearance’ because it’s simply not true,” Ms. Magofna said. “In fact, the House of Representatives filed a timely Notice to Appear with our team of House Impeachment Prosecutors. And the team I’m referring are Reps. BJ Attao, Celina Babauta, Leila Staffler, Donald Manglona and myself.”
Hofschneider’s assertion that that the notice to appear was not timely filed has been his reason for not allowing any prosecutors from the House to partake in the Senate trial of Torres. This will be the first instance in United States history, where a senate body trying a sitting governor or president on impeachment charges, is denying the corresponding house of representatives the right to prosecute the case.
Mr. Hofschneider several times interrupted Ms. Magofna as she was setting the record straight, and forbade her from discussing the matter on the record further. Therefore, in the interest of fairness, Kandit provides to you Ms. Magofna’s prepared statement in its entirety:
Hafa Adai, Tirow and good morning everyone,
For the record, my name is Corina Magofna and I am a House member of the 22nd Legislature.
Mr. Senate President, I’m here to set the record straight.
On March 30 at approximately 2:29 pm I filed my Notice to Appear.
Your office received this Notice. You should be aware of this Notice.
Whether you to choose to acknowledge them or not, the facts are the facts.
To the people of the CNMI, I would like to clear the record.
I did file and submit my response to the Senate Clerk on the day it was due, at least 2 hours before the deadline. And I have a copy of the document to prove it.
I don’t appreciate Senator Hofschneider telling the public that I “failed to timely file an appearance” because it’s simply not true.
In fact, the House of Representatives filed a timely Notice to Appear with our team of House Impeachment Prosecutors. And the team I’m referring are Reps. BJ Attao, Celina Babauta, Leila Staffler, Donald Manglona and myself.
And just to be clear, I didn’t decline the appointment of Prosecutor because it was the easy way out or because I lacked the confidence to present the evidence.
I declined the Senate President’s appointment because it was “unconstitutional” for the Senate President to infringe or overreach into the House and dictate to the House Speaker who the Prosecutors should be. Plain and simple!
For the Senate President to tell the House who should bring in the evidence and who should present its case—this is very disrespectful, unprofessional, and most importantly, unconstitutional.
I’m sure the Senate President wouldn’t appreciate it if the House Speaker dictated who the Presiding Officer should be for the impeachment hearing.
I am sure that the Governor would not appreciate it if the Speaker were to pick one of his attorneys to be the one and only counsel to appear on his behalf.
The Governor is free to pick
his DC attorney Mr. Ross Garber, and
Senator Nabor’s close family friend, Ms. Alepuyo.
So to be clear, I will not take part in the illegality of the Senate’s appointment. You like to say you must follow the Senate’s rules, well I would like to remind you that we both took an oath to uphold the Commonwealth’s Constitution.
So for the record, I am part of the House Team of Impeachment Prosecutors.
The House and the House alone should be able to pick who presents the record and presents the evidence.
I hope this clears up any misunderstanding.
Si Yu’us Ma’ase