SANTA FE, N.M. — The Latest on the corruption trial against a former New Mexico state senator (all times local):
Former New Mexico state Sen. Phil Griego is testifying at trial that he should have made a public announcement about his personal involvement in the sale of a state-owned building before its approval by the Legislature.
On trial in state district court, Griego testified Tuesday about his role in the 2014 sale of a state-owned building in downtown Santa Fe. Prosecutors allege Griego used his position as a state lawmaker to profit from the sale by guiding the transaction through state approvals without disclosing his financial interests.
Griego says he had a colleague in the House of Representatives introduce legislation for the sale, without informing him that he had been in contact with the prospective buyer.
Griego says he should have told Rep. Jim Trujillo and the “whole world” about his communication with the buyer.
Griego said he had wanted to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest. He eventually earned a $50,000 sale commission.
A former New Mexico state senator is defending his role in the sale of a state-owned building against allegations of corruption at a trial in state district court.
Former Sen. Phil Griego testified Tuesday in his own defense that a deputy state Cabinet secretary described a state owned building as a money pit and was eager to facilitate a sale. Griego eventually earned a $50,000 commission from the buyer.
State prosecutors with the office of Attorney General Hector Balderas allege that Griego used his position as a state senator to profit from the 2014 sale of the building in downtown Santa Fe and spread misinformation about the need to sell.
Griego said that in 2013 he approached his friend and Deputy Secretary of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Brett Woods about the building and was told the agency was eager to sell it. Griego says he later relied on information from Woods and did not try to deceive lawmakers as they approved the sale.
An attorney says former New Mexico state Sen. Phil Griego plans to testify at his own trial, as a jury considers corruption charges including fraud and bribery.
Defense attorney Thomas Clark says he anticipates that Griego will speak in his own defense Tuesday as a final witness, as the trial enters its third week.
The New Mexico attorney general’s office alleges that Griego used his position as a lawmaker to profit from the sale of a state-owned building. Griego has pleaded not guilty to eight charges.
Prosecutors say Griego guided the sale through endorsements by a state agency, the Legislature and a buildings commission without properly disclosing his financial interest. He earned a $50,000 commission from the buyer.
A conviction on all counts could mean decades in jail.