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Preliminary hearing in sexual abuse of a minor case suspended, says chief prosecutor

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THE preliminary hearing for a defendant in a sexual abuse of a minor case has been suspended, chief prosecutor John Bradley said.

“There is an agreement with defense counsel to suspend the preliminary hearing while the [CNMI] Supreme Court decides the case,” Bradley added.

On Tuesday, the Office of the Attorney General’s criminal division asked the high court to review the order of Judge Joseph N. Camacho issuing a discovery at a preliminary hearing in the case against Rudolph Rudolph.

Bradley said the CNMI Supreme Court has already ordered the defendant to file a reply by Monday.

In his petition for a writ of mandamus, Assistant Attorney General J. Robert Glass Jr. asked the high court to direct Judge Camacho to rescind his previous order granting Rudolph’s  request to have all tangible materials used by law enforcement to establish probable cause.

Judge Camacho said Rudolph has the right to cross-examine adverse witnesses at a preliminary examination hearing “to weed out groundless claims.”

The judge said the defendant is also entitled to the tangible materials in possession of the Commonwealth that relate to the government determination of probable cause so that the defendant can fully and properly cross-examine the government witness.

Rudolph, a Federated States of Micronesia national, was charged on Aug. 5, 2020 with three counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree and four counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree.

The AG’s office is taking the position that in a preliminary hearing the court lacks jurisdiction to compel discovery.

Despite the petition for a writ of mandamus, Judge Camacho continued with Rudolph’s preliminary hearing on Tuesday as scheduled.

Rudolph appeared in the custody of the Department of Corrections and was represented by attorney Anthony Aguon.

Assistant Attorney General Samantha Vickery, who appeared for the government, moved orally for a motion to stay the proceedings pending the high court ruling on the petition for a writ of mandamus.

Aguon opposed the motion for stay and asked Judge Camacho to direct the government to produce all tangible materials as ordered by the court.

Bradley said the prosecution withdrew the motion after the defense attorney agreed to suspend the preliminary hearing.


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