Former Secretary of State Dianna Duran withdrew a motion seeking to reduce her sentence for gambling with campaign funds
KRQE-TV first reported this, citing court officials. NM Political Report had already reached out to Erlinda Johnson, Duran’s attorney, for confirmation but was told Johnson was in a trial. We will add any comment by Johnson to this story when we receive it. Duran sought to reduce the amount of public speaking requirements and the amount of community service required as part of her sentencing. Duran’s first public speaking appearance lasted just five minutes and she showed up 40 minutes late.
New Mexico’s former Secretary of State who went to jail for gambling with campaign funds is back in the news. This time, it’s because she wants certain parts of her criminal sentence reduced. Update: Judge Glenn Ellington set a hearing on March 11 on Duran’s request. The rest of the story remains as originally written below. It can get a bit complicated and news reports have focused on the back and forth, so we decided to break it down and explain what is going on.
Dianna Duran will be going to jail this Friday, where she will spend the next thirty days, including the holidays. Erlinda Johnson, said that Duran would not withdraw her guilty plea and will instead accept the sentence handed down by a judge earlier this week. “With the same resolve with which Ms. Duran swiftly accepted responsibility, she will accept the sentence of the court,” Johnson said in a short emailed statement to NM Political Report and other media outlets. Note: This story may be updated with further details throughout the day. Duran pleaded guilty to a number of charges, including violating campaign finance laws and embezzling money from her campaign accounts for personal use.
Dianna Duran will spend just thirty days in jail if she is able to abide by terms of release set down by Judge Glenn Ellington on Monday for six crimes she pleaded guilty to earlier this year. The total sentence is seven and a half years with all but 30 days suspended. The former Secretary of State will serve supervised probation for five years and pay $14,000 in fines and just over $13,000 in restitution. Related Story: PR firm head says Duran sentencing an ‘opportunity’
Jail time or incarceration of any kind were dropped from Duran’s plea deal with Attorney General Hector Balderas, who filed 65 criminal counts against her in August. Duran pleaded guilty in October to embezzling campaign money for personal use, which she later admitted was part of a gambling addiction.
According to a memo from her attorney regarding sentencing in a high profile case, former Secretary of State Dianna Duran does not deserve to spend any time in jail. The memo from attorney Erlinda Johnson says Duran is seeking treatment for gambling and that Duran is unlikely to commit any more crimes. The Albuquerque Journal was the first to report on the memo, as well as information from the Public Employees Retirement Association that Duran recently received her first pension check of $4,857.56. Judge Glenn Ellington will review the plea deal and ultimately decide on Duran’s punishment. He said that if there was jail time, he would allow Duran to withdraw her guilty pleas.
After pleading guilty to two criminal felonies and four misdemeanors, Dianna Duran spoke to reporters about her integrity in 36 years as an elected New Mexico official. “I am truly, truly honored to have served New Mexicans and I want them to know that none of this, none of this that has been going on for the past few months has anything to do with the integrity of the office and the office that New Mexicans now have as their Secretary of State’s office,” she said to a crowd of reporters outside the Santa Fe District Court minutes after pleading guilty. Again and again, Duran said the criminal violations she pleaded guilty to—which led to her resignation as Secretary of State late Thursday night—only happened in her personal life and not in her professional capacity. Duran pleaded guilty to embezzlement and money laundering following charges from Attorney General Hector Balderas that she used campaign money for personal use. Duran’s plea deal includes five years of probation and allows her to keep her government pension.
New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran’s attorney was granted some extra time in the criminal case against her client on Thursday. First Judicial District Court Judge Glenn Ellington granted an extension for Duran’s attorney Erlinda Johnson after she asked the court for another 60 days to comb through documents related to the case. Johnson has not yet responded to New Mexico Political Report’s requests for comment. Any comment will be added when it is received. A spokesman for the Attorney General said the office would not be releasing a statement regarding the extension, but did say the office would proceed with business as usual.
After being accused of filing criminal charges against Secretary of State Dianna Duran based on a personal bias, the Attorney General’s office fired back with a response late Friday. The Attorney General’s Office countered claims of a conflict of interest with their own claims that Duran is “prosecutor shopping” by trying to have Attorney General Hector Balderas removed from the case. Earlier this week, Attorney General Hector Balderas announced that he would no longer provide counsel to the Secretary of State’s office. He returned 31 cases of potential campaign finance violations to her office and said she should work with district attorneys on the cases. “The law affords criminal defendants many rights.
Dianna Duran’s legal problems increased on Friday, after the Attorney General filed new charges of identity theft against the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State, who served for years as a state senator, is accused of felony identity theft against former state senator Don Kidd. The basis for the allegation is that Duran used Kidd’s name without permission, “with the intent to defraud the campaign of Dianna J. Duran for Secretary of State, the contributors to the campaign or another.”
According to the complaint, officials from the Attorney General’s Office noticed an article in the Santa Fe New Mexican which included an interview with Kidd. The complaint said Kidd told an investigator with the Attorney General’s office that he had not been in contact with Duran since 2004. “[Special Agent] Gloria asked why Dianna J. Duran would list Mr. Kidd as the Treasurer, he said, ‘Well, I have no idea.
The latest in the saga that is the criminal case involving Secretary of State Dianna Duran is a motion from Duran’s lawyer asking that New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas be removed as the prosecutor. Duran’s attorney, Erlinda Johnson, filed the motion on Wednesday and asked the court to consider removing Balderas from the case on the grounds that his presence creates a conflict of interest. Johnson called the relationship between Balderas and Duran “contentious” and argued that Balderas has an ax to grind with Duran. “The acrimony between Ms. Duran and AG Balderas has continued for months, now giving ride to questions about this prosecutorial agencies bias against Ms. Duran,” the motion states. In a statement, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s office discounted the claims by Duran’s attorney.