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    Tuesday, December 11, 2018-11:36:06A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Inos asks Iowa to extradite Buckingham

GOVERNOR Eloy S. Inos has asked Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to extradite former Attorney General Edward T. Buckingham who is believed to be in Johnson County, Iowa.

Inos denied the request of Buckingham’s attorney to just allow the former AG to return to the CNMI before his March 18 hearing in Superior Court.

Eloy Inos

Inos informed the Iowa governor that Buckingham is a fugitive from justice and has been charged with multiple misdemeanors and felonies. The CNMI governor asked Branstad to find, apprehend and detain Buckingham.

Inos also provided Branstad with copies of information about the charges and the bench warrant issued by the CNMI Superior Court against Buckingham.

“I believe that this will be sufficient to establish that Mr. Buckingham has been charged with crimes in the CNMI and that he was present in the CNMI when those crimes were alleged to have been committed,” Inos told Branstad.

Inos said yesterday that he decided to reject Buckingham’s request for the following reasons: First, the charges are serious and include felonies. Second, Buckingham has had ample time to work with the special prosecutor on his return, but has chosen not to. Hence, the former AG’s last-minute appeal is inappropriate. And third, “I have already transmitted the extradition request to the special prosecutor [Office of Public Auditor legal counsel George Hasselback] for implementation and he has requested a status conference with Judge [David] Wiseman to discuss this issue. Thus, this matter is in the hands of the court and the special prosecutor.”

Inos said: “Buckingham should raise his issues with the court, not the governor.”

Edward Buckingham

Press Secretary Angel A. Demapan said the governor’s extradition request came after a thorough review of Hasselback’s recommendation to extradite Buckingham.

“So based on a review of those facts and after collaboration with the state of sanctuary, Governor Inos signed the extradition of Buckingham,” Demapan said.

Vice Speaker Francisco S. Dela Cruz, IR-Saipan, applauded Inos for taking action

He said that although Bukingham posted a $50,000 bail, “we still don’t know whether he will voluntarily come back.”

He added, “I think it is a step in the right direction for the new administration. I believe this is very positive way of starting off this new administration.”

Sen. Pete Reyes, IR-Saipan, described Inos’s decision as great news.

“I have always been in support of bringing Buckingham back. I believe that it has taken too long to do that. I am glad that the governor now feels that it is necessary because justice needs to be addressed.”

Reyes said the governor’s extradition request is a message to the CNMI people that no one is above the law and that even the highest law enforcement officer needs to follow it.

He believes that the $50,000 bail will compel Buckingham to return and face the charges.

“$50,000 is a lot of money. You don’t just let it drift away,” Reyes said.

“I certainly hope that Buckingham comes back and clarifies what everyone is thinking here. We need him to face this so he can clear himself. He needs to understand that he is not above the law,” he added.

Buckingham is facing two counts of misconduct in public office, two counts of violation of ethics and CNMI election laws and obstruction of justice.