Prosecutors: Give former state senator 10 years in prison

February 12, 2018

FILE - In this Nov. 14, 2017, file photo, former New Mexico state Sen. Phil Griego testifies at his own trial on corruption charges in Santa Fe, N.M. Prosecutors are recommending that Griego, convicted of fraud, bribery and felony ethical violations, be sentenced to 10 years in prison and serve five years of supervised probation in addition to paying a maximum fine. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee, file)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Prosecutors want a former New Mexico state senator convicted of fraud, bribery and ethical violations to spend 10 years in prison.

The New Mexico Attorney General’s office made the sentencing recommendation for Phil Griego in court documents filed Monday. He is scheduled to be sentenced Friday in state district court. Prosecutors also say he should receive five years’ probation and fines.

Prosecutors said the Democrat used his elected position and acumen as a real estate broker to guide the sale of a state-owned building in downtown Santa Fe through various approvals without properly disclosing his financial interest.

Griego maintained he did nothing wrong in earning a $50,000 commission from the transaction. He resigned from the Legislature in 2015 following a Senate ethics investigation.

He was convicted in November on charges that could carry a sentence of nearly 18 years in prison. While prosecutors have recommended less prison time, they are seeking to take away some public pension benefits through fines.

Griego’s case is the latest in a string of high-profile corruption scandals involving public officials in New Mexico.

Republican Dianna Duran resigned as secretary of state in 2015 amid revelations she used campaign funds to fuel a gambling addiction. That led to her conviction on felony counts of embezzlement and money laundering.

In a separate case, Griego faces multiple counts of perjury and embezzlement related to campaign finance reports that prosecutors say were falsified. He has pleaded not guilty.

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