The Latest: Defense says fraud accusation are nonsense
Nov. 15, 2017
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on the corruption trial of a former New Mexico state senator (all times local):
A defense attorney is describing as nonsense allegations that former New Mexico state Sen. Phil Griego kept secret his financial interest in the sale of a state-owned building.
A jury listened Wednesday to closing arguments in the trial of Griego on corruption charges in connection with the sale of a state owned building.
State prosecutors allege Griego used his elected position to guide a building's sale through approvals by a state agency without properly disclosing his personal financial involvement. Griego acted as a real estate agent for the buyer of the property in downtown Santa Fe, eventually earning a $50,000 commission.
Defense attorney Thomas Clark told jurors that testimony from a Cabinet secretary shows Griego revealed his role as the buyer's agent in at a March 2014 meeting. Clark says that three other officials at the meeting lied in saying they did not recall or know about financial disclosures by Griego.
New Mexico state prosecutors are urging a jury to convict a former New Mexico state senator on charges of fraud, bribery and violating ethical principles.
Assistant Attorney General Clara Moran on Wednesday said Sen. Phil Griego needs to be held accountable to the public for using his elected office to profit from the 2014 sale of a state-owned building in downtown Santa Fe.
State prosecutors allege Griego used his elected position and acumen as a real estate broker to guide the building's sale through approvals by a state agency, the Legislature and a public buildings commission without properly disclosing his financial interest.
Griego says he broke no laws and had attempted to avoid potential conflicts between his responsibilities as a lawmaker and opportunities for financial gain as a real estate broker.
Moran described Griego as a savvy puppeteer who used his political influence and knowledge of state government to secretively earn a $50,000 commission as a real estate broker from the property buyers.
Attorneys are preparing for closing arguments in the high-stakes corruption trial of former New Mexico state Sen. Phil Griego.
A jury was scheduled as soon as Wednesday to hear final statements from defense attorneys and state prosecutors after more than two weeks of testimony from state officials, lawmakers and local business owners.
State prosecutors allege that Griego used his position as a lawmaker to profit from the sale of a state-owned building in downtown Santa Fe without proper disclosure.
Griego says he broke no laws, and defense attorneys have highlighted that several top state officials backed the property sale and knew of Griego's involvement.
Criminal charges against Griego including fraud, bribery, perjury, violating the ethical principles of public service, unlawful interest in a public contract and violating financial disclosure requirements.