by Mindy Aguon
Guam - Former governor Carl Gutierrez appeared in the Superior Court of Guam this morning and pleaded not guilty and asserted his right to a speedy trial. Trial has been scheduled for May 12 at 9 in the morning. Gutierrez, along with former Retirement Fund director John Rios, has have been in and out of court over the last several years. The two are accused of devising a scheme to enhance Gutierrez's retirement benefits.
Those charges previously were dismissed a second time, but Guam's high court found that the trial court misapplied the statutes when the second indictment charges were thrown out.
Gutierrez said he is confident he will be found innocent and a victim of a conspiracy, telling KUAM News, "I think it s going to be very positive when they see what people are doing to just go after me for no good reason and to spend money and time...I think I said it would enhance the opportunity for me to move forward even better. Because the people will realize that I'm fighting some forces that shouldn't be playing in our government."
Meanwhile Gutierrez's attorney, Randy Cunliffe, is confident his client will once again be acquitted. He also says he plans to move to have Assistant Attorney General Bill Bischoff disqualified from the case, saying he not only hates his client, but also has gone out of his way to prosecute him. "Because of the way he acts, the things he does and has done in the past and continues to do," Cunliffe stated.
Judge Pro-Tem Richard Benson set trial for May 12 at 9 in the morning. Gutierrez is running for governor this year in Decision 2010 with Senator Frank Aguon, Jr.