SANTA FE, N.M. — Prosecutors asked a state court Monday to reject an unusual effort to call New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas as a witness at a high-profile corruption trial being prosecuted by his office.
Balderas has been listed as a potential witness as an October trial date approaches for former Sen. Phil Griego on allegations that he used his position as a state senator to profit from the 2014 sale of a state-owned building in downtown Santa Fe without proper disclosure.
Griego resigned from the Senate in 2015 amid an ethics investigation.
Balderas spokesman James Hallinan described the motion filed Monday as a “last-ditch effort by Phil Griego’s defense attorney to delay the trial.”
“The attorney general will not be manipulated,” Hallinan said.
Defense attorney Thomas Clark listed Balderas as a witness, while highlighting a $1,500 campaign contribution by Griego to the attorney general’s 2014 campaign and a conversation between the two men.
“I’m not asking to delay the trial,” Clark said. “I believe that Hector Balderas had a conversation with my client way back in the summer of 2014 about whether or not Mr. Griego had any criminal liability.”
In court fillings, the attorney general’s office said Balderas was still serving as state auditor at the time and was in no position to discuss an investigation that did not yet exist.
“He (Clark) listed the attorney general as a witness solely for the purpose of creating a conflict and public spectacle, to delay or avoid prosecution for his crimes,” the motion states.