July 20, 2016

Griego waives arraignment in criminal trial

Andy Lyman

Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque

Former New Mexico State Senator Phil Griego successfully waived his arraignment for a criminal trial involving a handful of felonies including bribery and  fraud charges.

Former State Sen. Phil Griego in District Court.

Andy Lyman

Former State Sen. Phil Griego in 1st Judicial District Court.

Griego’s attorney Tom Clark told NM Political Report on Tuesday that a motion to waive the arraignment was filed earlier in the week, acknowledging the charges against the former lawmaker and entering a not-guilty plea.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for the New Mexico Attorney General’s office confirmed that Griego waived his right to be formally arraigned. The hearing scheduled for Friday will be vacated.

On the last day of the preliminary hearing where District Court Judge Brett Loveless said there was probable cause to move forward on a trial, the judge suggested that Griego did not seem to pose a risk to the public and is not likely to flee the state.

Griego faces nine criminal charges stemming from a real estate deal he brokered in 2014. The AG’s office maintains that Griego used his position in the Legislature to push legislation allowing the deal to go through.

After a four day preliminary hearing earlier this month, Loveless found probable cause that Griego committed all but one of the charges by the Attorney General in question.

Griego resigned from the state Senate because of the real estate deal. At the time, Griego admitted to violating Senate rules and a portion of the state constitution.

There is no date for the beginning of the trial.