U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked the remaining U.S. Attorneys appointed by Barack Obama to resign on Friday. Damon Martinez, the U.S. Attorney from New Mexico, resigned Friday, according to a statement from his office. First Assistant U.S. Attorney James D. Tierney is the Acting U.S. Attorney until a new U.S. Attorney is confirmed by the U.S. Senate. A U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman announced in a statement Friday afternoon “many” of the Obama-nominated U.S. Attorneys had already left their positions. “The Attorney General has now asked the remaining 46 presidentially appointed U.S. Attorneys to tender their resignations in order to ensure a uniform transition,” Sarah Isgur Flores said.
Comments from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week that he intends to “pull back on” federal oversight of police departments drew mixed reactions from officers and civil rights advocates in Albuquerque, where a police reform agreement between the city and the Justice Department is nearing the midway point of its third year. Reform proponents told New Mexico In Depth they were troubled by Sessions’ remarks, and they are ready to step in to ensure that APD adheres to constitutional policing if the federal government steps away. The president of the Albuquerque police union, meanwhile, said officers were pleased with the tone of support from the attorney general. The rank and file hope his comments could signal a softening of what they see as the agreement’s more onerous requirements. So far, though, the agreement and its effect on APD personnel have continued unabated since Donald Trump took office on Jan.
After a year of “stonewalling” by federal law enforcement officials, U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham is calling for congressional hearings to get to the bottom of why a man who allegedly shot an Albuquerque police officer to death in 2015 was still on the streets at the time. The fourth-year congresswoman, an Albuquerque-based Democrat who is running for governor of New Mexico, also vowed to sponsor a bill that would require the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and other agencies to make regular reports to Congress on their policies for undercover operations and those operations’ outcomes once they’re closed. This piece originally appeared at New Mexico In Depth and appears on NM Political Report with permission. Lujan Grisham laid out her plans in an interview with New Mexico In Depth after a town hall meeting in Albuquerque on Feb. 25.
Albuquerque Police Department officials have altered and, in some cases, deleted videos that showed several controversial incidents, including at least two police shootings, the department’s former records supervisor has alleged in a sworn affidavit. Three officers’ body camera videos that captured events surrounding the fatal shooting of 19-year-old suspected car thief Mary Hawkes in April 2014 were either altered or partially deleted, according to former APD employee Reynaldo Chavez’s nine-page affidavit. Also alleged is that surveillance camera video from a salon showing APD officers shooting Jeremy Robertson, a law enforcement informant and suspected probation violator, in June 2014 bore “the tell-tale signs that it has been altered and images that had been captured are now deleted. One of the deleted images captured the officers shooting Jeremy Robertson.”
This piece originally appeared at NM In Depth and is reprinted at NM Political Report with permission. Chavez also said that ‘SD cards’ from cameras were easy to make disappear, and that he witnessed Assistant Chief Robert Huntsman say ‘we can make this disappear’ when discussing a particular police camera with an SD card in it, according the affidavit.
The smoke surrounding an FBI investigation into a top political adviser did not result in any fire. That’s what an attorney for Jay McCleskey said on Friday, saying that the grand jury investigation into McCleskey is over and that McCleskey will not be facing any charges. The Albuquerque Journal first reported the news. “We have been informed that the investigation has been terminated and no charges will be forthcoming,” Kennedy told the newspaper. NM Political Report confirmed with Kennedy over the phone that the investigation is over.
Gov. Susana Martinez dismissed complaints that have led to an FBI investigation of her top political operative, speaking publicly Monday afternoon for the first time in person to reporters about the matter since it rocked news headlines over the weekend. In doing so, she acknowledged to reporters that federal authorities had talked with her and members of her staff. She also told reporters that she has talked with Jay McCleskey about the investigation which reportedly is looking into money that he controlled. “I speak to him every day,” Martinez said. “And when I talk to him—he’s working right now, I’m working right now, we’re moving forward, we’re doing our thing.”
Martinez kept her comments short following an unrelated press conference in the Albuquerque Northeast Heights announcing job expansions of Skorpios Technologies, a tech company that creates photonic integrated circuits.
The FBI has interviewed several Republicans in the state over fundraising activities related to Gov. Susana Martinez’ top political advisor, the state’s second largest daily newspaper reported Friday night. Related Story: Former official: FBI asked about issues in Martinez administration. The Santa Fe New Mexican cited an unnamed “prominent New Mexico Republican” that had been interviewed and said others had been interviewed about activities from Martinez’s political wing. The report came hours after a reporter for CNBC tweeted about the news. The newspaper notes that the money went to Jay McCleskey, who was Martinez’s campaign manager and has run a number of campaigns for Republicans in the state.