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Woman charged with harboring illegal aliens asks court to modify release conditions

A WOMAN accused of employing undocumented construction workers who arrived on Saipan as tourists is asking the federal court to modify her release conditions.

Attorney Steven Pixley said his client Xiufang Qi does not object to strict conditions of release but seeks some liberty to shop, exercise, and handle other personal matters during daylight hours.

According to Pixley his client is essentially under house arrest with electronic monitoring since her release.

Qi was indicted on one count of harboring illegal aliens. On April 12, 2017, during a detention hearing, she was released from custody subject to specific conditions.

In a motion filed last week, Pixley said Qi is not a flight risk, adding that his client is cloaked with the “presumption of innocence and maintains the full panoply of constitutional rights.”

Pixley said the Bail Reform Act mandates her release under the least restrictive conditions (or combination of conditions) necessary to mitigate the risks of her non-appearance.

Qi has fully complied with her conditions of release over the course of the past three months, her lawyer said, adding that the court has also imposed conditions that will prevent Qi from fleeing the CNMI, including the surrender of her passport.

Pixley is asking the court to permit her some freedom during the day to take care of personal matters. Qi, he added, is currently restricted to a one-room apartment.

The federal court earlier modified the release conditions of Qi’s co-defendant, Guo Wencai, who was ordered to observe a curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Qi seeks a similar modification to her terms and conditions of release, Pixley said.

Qi and Guo were arrested on April 5, 2017 at the Francisco C. Ada /Saipan International Airport before they could leave the island and fly to China. Authorities said Qi and Guo had been hiring illegal workers and were the group leaders of “tourists” performing construction work at Imperial Pacific’s casino resort project in Garapan.

Qi and Wencai are employees of Beilida Overseas CNMI, a construction contractor of Imperial Pacific.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/97110-woman-charged-with-harboring-illegal-aliens-asks-court-to-modify-release-conditions

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