February 16, 2018

Griego sentenced to 18 months in prison, $47K in fines

Former State Sen. Phil Griego will serve 18 months in prison.

A judge handed down the punishment Friday, four months after a jury found the San Juan Democrat guilty on five of eight charges in a corruption trial.

Griego will also have to pay $47,000 in fines.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Griego did not accept responsibility for his crimes.

“I genuinely believe I am not a criminal,” the former state senator told District Court Judge Brett Loveless.

The trial revolved around a real estate deal Griego worked on as a realtor while also serving  as a member of the state Senate. Griego personally profited from the sale of a Santa Fe building, after the Legislature approved putting the building up for sale, by brokering the sale of the building. The Santa Fe Reporter first reported on the land deal in 2014.

The judge ordered Griego to report to the geriatric unit of a state prison in Los Lunas within three weeks to begin serving his term.

Griego was facing almost 18 years in prison and prosecutors asked for a 10-year sentence. Griego asked for no time in prison.

After Griego’s sentencing, Attorney General Hector Balderas, whose office prosecuted the crimes, said the judge should have imposed more jail time but respected the court’s authority.

“New Mexico has long been victimized by abuse and corruption and we will continue to fight on behalf of all New Mexicans,” Balderas said.

Griego resigned from the state Senate in 2015 because of his role in the real estate deal. In his resignation letter, he admitted violating the state constitution as well as Senate ethics rules.