Former state senator accused of corruption testifies in own defense

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) — Former New Mexico state Sen. Phil Griego took the stand Tuesday in his own defense against corruption charges.

The longtime state senator, who resigned in the wake of a real estate scandal, is accused of steering the sale of a state-owned building through the Roundhouse, and then collecting a commission.

Phil Griego took the stand at 8:30 a.m. At times, he mentioned being nervous. He also made comments that he wishes he had never been involved in the sale at all.

Griego was first asked a series of questions by his attorney about his family, career and his time as a senator.

The defense claims Griego never actually voted on the resolution in question — HJR8, the resolution to sell a state-owned building in Santa Fe.

His attorney presented a document showing that Griego was marked off as having voted on the resolution, but he insists he took a walk when the vote was taken.

Then, the defense asked Griego to read his resignation letter from the Senate.

The state then began cross-examination. Prosecutor Mark Probasco had the former senator in the hot seat, questioning Griego on possibly pushing the floor leader to read the resolution back in 2014 in order to get it passed, saying if it wasn’t heard it would die.

Again, they pointed out to the jury how Griego collected a $50,000 fee for brokering the deal.

The state also continued to push Griego about how he swore an oath to the State of New Mexico to be honest, something Griego said he remembered very well.

The jury instruction is set to begin Wednesday morning.

If found guilty, Griego faces up to 23 years in prison.

 

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