New Mexico attorney, senator accused of conflict of interest

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – According to a motion filed on Friday, the Attorney General’s Office is trying to remove a State Senator as defense counsel after an alleged conflict of interest.

Attorney and State Senator Lisa Torraco is accused of advising a defendant to destroy evidence of child solicitation.

The motion was filed by Assistant Attorney General Jeres Rael.

The motion claims that Toracco became a part of the prosecution and defense of the defendant, Tyler Danzer.

Danzer is facing charges of child solicitation and tampering with evidence after being indicted earlier in 2016.

The motion says investigators caught Danzer in the act when he initiated a conversation to investigators, who claimed to be a 12-year-old girl. During his contact with investigators, he exchanged sexual messages.

The motion also claims that Torraco then told Danzer to delete that email account and, by deleting it, investigators could not obtain the needed digital forensic evidence in the case.

“Telling a client to destroy evidence creates a conflict of interest and so that’s why we’re asking the judge to remove Ms. Torraco from this case,” said James Hallinan, a representative for the Attorney General’s Office.

However, Senator Torraco said she was just doing her job.

“If I had a client that got a DWI, I would tell him not to drink alcohol. That’s what the judge will order. When I have a client charged with a crime on the internet, I tell them to get off the internet. Close the account. That’s what the judge ordered,” she said.

She continued to say the motion from the Attorney General’s Office is, “dirty, dirty politics.” However, the Attorney General’s Office said they are just trying to keep the children of New Mexico safe from people like Danzer.

“If Ms. Torraco thinks that protecting children from being raped and exploited is politics, I don’t know how else to respond to that,” said Hallinan.

The hearing for the motion is scheduled to happen on Monday, September 19 in District Court.

The Attorney General’s Office released this statement:

“The Office of the Attorney General is committed to the fair and impartial administration of justice. The decision made by the Office to file the motion regarding Ms. Torraco’s conflict, was to protect the Defendant’s right to a fair trial, as well as to preserve the integrity of any trial conviction. Every action taken by the Office with regard to child exploitation cases, whether investigating them, prosecuting them, or preserving an appellate record, is to protect the children of the State of New Mexico.”

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