VIDEO: CNMI Senator Ayuyu Pleads Not Guilty to Obstruction of Justice

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Guam – Rota Sen. Juan M. Ayuyu pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a new indictment charging him with obstruction of justice for allegedly threatening and tampering with witnesses and attempting to destroy evidence related to a pending case that accuses him of attempting to smuggle federally protected fruit bats.

The Saipan Tribune reports that federal agents arrested the 48-year-old Ayuyu Monday afternoon after a federal grand jury handed the new indictment charging him with conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding, obstructing an official proceeding, tampering with a witness, suborning perjury, attempting to prevent testimony of a witness, obstructing the due administration of justice, and attempting to destroy or remove seized property.

Ayuyu was first indicted for violations of the Endangered Species Act and the Lacey Act for his role in possessing and transporting eight Mariana fruit bats on Oct. 17, 2010.

If found guilty on his first indictment, the first-time senator from Rota face a statutory maximum sentence of one year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $25,000 for each offense.