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Last updateThu, 22 Nov 2018 12am

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    Wednesday, November 21, 2018-10:40:54A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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AG Joey San Nicolas resigns

ATTORNEY General Joey Patrick San Nicolas yesterday announced that he had tendered his resignation effective July 5, 2014 or two days before the start of the submission of nominating petitions and candidacy documents for the November elections.

Deputy Attorney General Gilbert J. Birnbrich will serve as acting AG until the CNMI’s first elected AG is sworn in in January.

San Nicolas will challenge incumbent Tinian Mayor Ramon Dela Cruz in the election.

In a media conference at the AG’s criminal division office yesterday, San Nicolas said he must resign so as not to compromise the integrity of his office.

“I have very important responsibilities as the sitting attorney general so I do not wish to…directly or indirectly compromise what we are doing here,” he added.

San Nicolas said he had met with Gov. Eloy S. Inos and the members of the AGO management team as well as the staff and attorneys for both the civil and criminal divisions.

“It’s important to me that the people’s business moves forward without the potential for conflict as a result of [my] personal goals,” San Nicolas said. “I have too much respect for my staff here at the Attorney General’s Office and the community of the CNMI to possibly compromise the office and the public that I serve.”

Attorney General JP San Nicolas and his deputy, Gilbert J. Birnbrich, conduct a press conference at the AG’s criminal division office yesterday.  Photo by Andrew O. De Guzman
He added, “We are proud of what we are doing here. I think that the Office of the Attorney General has some of the finest employees that one could ask for, from our investigators, our prosecutors, and our litigators to our legal assistants and our administrative staffers, together we work for the people. I would never want to have a cloud or any kind of suspicion or potential conflict in our office as a result of my personal or career goals.

“I want to say that it is an honor and a privilege to serve the commonwealth in this capacity [as AG]. I learned a lot from the people that I worked with. I learned a lot from the judiciary, from the Department of Public Safety, from all law enforcement [agencies and officers], and also from Governor Inos, and Lt. Gov. [Jude] Hofschneider. This I consider the highlight, not just of my legal career, but my career in general.

“I am proud of the men and women who serve day in and day out [in the AG’s office]. They are the ones who do the work for the people. I am talking about the legal assistants, prosecutors, civil attorneys, investigators, and the admin. I am just the face of the office. But the real work is done by them.”

According to Birnbrich, the appointment of San Nicolas in Oct. 2012 provided guidance to the AG’s office during “trying times.”  

“Every new attorney general should strive to leave the office a better place than when he arrived. In my opinion, he certainly fulfilled that goal,” said Birnbrich.

“There were doubts as to the competency of our attorneys. There were doubts as to the integrity of our office. I can unequivocally say that [San Nicolas] has taken steps that restored or dispelled those doubts.”

Birnbrich said he was “truly honored” to serve with San Nicolas.

“He showed a lot of trust and confidence in me and now, he and the governor are showing trust and confidence in me again to take this next big step,” Birnbrich added.

“I will do everything in my power and my abilities to fulfill my duties and to make sure that [San Nicolas and Inos] were not mistaken in having their trust and confidence in me.

“My job is just really to maintain the office to make sure that everything is there, everything is in perfect working order, when the next attorney general comes in.”