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Territory governor commutes predecessor’s prison sentence

July 7, 2015

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — The former governor of a territory west of Hawaii who pleaded guilty to corruption charges in May is getting medical treatment instead of prison time.

An attorney for former Northern Marianas Gov. Benigno Fitial said Gov. Eloy Inos commuted the one-year prison sentence that his client was set to start serving this week in light of appeals from the public and the 69-year-old’s illness, the Pacific Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/1IGalZE).

Superior Court Judge David Wiseman said in court that Fitial misused public resources and ordered the release of a woman in federal custody shortly after his election so she could give him a massage.

“The defendant’s acts demonstrated blatant arrogance, unbefitting of the highest office of government,” Wiseman said when he sentenced Fitial in late June to a year in prison.

Fitial had initially asked for a pardon. He plans to leave Saipan for the Philippines to receive treatment for Type 2 diabetes.

His attorney says the governor’s decision prevented Fitial from becoming the territory’s first governor to serve prison time.

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