ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An unusual effort to call New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas as a witness in a political corruption trial being prosecuted by his office was rejected Friday by a district court judge.
The ruling came as a trial approaches for former state Sen. Phil Griego on allegations he used his elected position to profit from the 2014 sale of a state-owned building in Santa Fe without proper disclosure.
Griego resigned from the Senate in 2015 amid an ethics investigation and has pleaded not guilty to charges that include fraud, perjury and embezzlement.
Judge Brett Loveless found Friday that Griego’s defense attorney had not been able to justify calling Balderas as a witness, said Ken Stalter, general counsel to the attorney general’s office.
Defense attorney Thomas Clark had highlighted a $1,500 campaign contribution by Griego to the attorney general’s 2014 campaign, as well as a conversation between Griego and Balderas in 2014.
In court documents, the attorney general’s office asserted that no real estate deal was mentioned in the conversation, and that the goal of the defense was to intimidate the attorney general and gain a favorable plea offer.