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.
A state district court judge set the trial date on corruption for a former state senator for October of 2017, and set aside three weeks to complete the trial. Former State senator Phil Griego faces multiple felonies related to a real estate deal from when he was in office. Second Judicial District Judge Brett Loveless also dismissed a lawyer representing the legislature Thursday afternoon, ruling information Hnasko obtained while interviewing the San Juan Democrat as part of a legislative ethics hearing would not be part of the discovery process for the trial. Legislative Council Service (LCS) attorney Thomas Hnasko requested to not be interviewed by prosecutors with the New Mexico Attorney General’s office, citing privileged information he obtained through previous interviews. Loveless said the information Hnasko obtained is protected by the opinion work product doctrine, essentially an attorney client privilege.
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. 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.
SANTA FE — A district court judge ruled Friday there was probable cause to move forward with a criminal case against a former state senator on all but one count in a public corruption case. District Court Judge Brett Loveless made the ruling after the fourth and final day of the preliminary hearings in the criminal case against former State Senator Phil Griego. He said that he will issue an order for a trial early next week. This is a breaking news story. More information may be added.
An Albuquerque district judge denied a motion by the administrative arm of the New Mexico Legislature to quash subpoenas of legislators to testify in the Phil Griego criminal case. Second Judicial District Judge Brett Loveless told lawyers with the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office and an attorney with the Legislative Council Service (LCS) that lawmakers can be subpoenaed but that they can still invoke a privilege to not testify if they choose. Loveless said the court would take it on a “circumstance by circumstance and a question by question” basis. The motion to quash the subpoenas came from the LCS when they argued that lawmakers are protected by a speech and debate clause which allows them to freely argue and vote on issues in Santa Fe without retaliation. Clara Moran, director of special prosecution with the AG said her office spoke with a number of lawmakers who said they are not represented by LCS and would likely not avoid testifying.
A district judge ruled Tuesday that New Mexico legislative staff must turn over some documents to the Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office. The AG’s office sought documents related to a criminal case against former Senator Phil Griego. Second Judicial District Judge Brett Loveless ruled that some documents and information requested by the AG’s office through subpoenas are susceptible to inspection after Legislative Council Service argued against it. Loveless ruled that “LCS has no constitutional privilege to refuse to produce the materials.”
This comes after the AG’s office and LCS sparred over whether legislators and legislative staff should be subject to subpoenas requiring their testimony. These documents include many documents related to the Interim Legislative Ethics Committee, which itself investigated Phil Griego for the violations of Senate Rules and the state constitution that led to his resignation from the state senate in 2015.
After weeks of recusals by judges, a district judge scheduled a preliminary hearing in the case against former New Mexico state Senator Phil Griego. District Court Judge Brett Loveless met briefly with lawyers from New Mexico Attorney General’s office and Griego’s attorney Monday afternoon to schedule the initial hearings leading up to Griego’s trial. Loveless and both parties agreed to begin the hearing process on July 5 in Albuquerque. Loveless said his schedule options are limited as he has other criminal cases already scheduled. Attorneys for the AG’s office requested that hearings that require witness testimony be scheduled in Santa Fe to avoid excess travel for witnesses.
In what looks like a final decision, attorneys for a former state senator and prosecutors agreed on a judge to preside over the case. Brett Loveless will preside over the high profile case of Phil Griego, who is facing corruption charges related to a real estate deal that ended with his resignation from the state SEnate. The last time we checked in with the case, the Democrat from San Jose pleaded not guilty. This came in front of the eighth judge assigned to the case. Before District Court Judge Sarah Singleton took the case, the previous seven recused themselves.