The Latest: Governor to appoint new secretary of state soon

AP News
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Posted: Dec 14, 2015 4:42 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The latest on the sentencing of New Mexico's former secretary of state on embezzlement charges (all times local).

2:40 p.m.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says she'll announce her pick to take over the secretary of state's office by the end of the week.

Martinez discussed the selection process during a news conference Monday in Albuquerque just hours after former Secretary of State Dianna Duran was sentenced to 30 days for misusing campaign donations.

Duran resigned from the elected post in October and pleaded guilty to embezzlement, money laundering and other charges.

Martinez says her office has reviewed a number of applications for Duran's replacement.

The governor's choice will serve in the office through the general election in November.

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11:45 a.m.

A judge says former New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran would have to report to jail Friday if she decides not to withdraw her guilty pleas in a campaign finance scandal.

A state district judge sentenced Duran on Monday to a 7.5-year sentence then suspended all but 30 days of it. She also was ordered to pay restitution and fines and serve five years of probation.

The sentence also calls for 2,000 hours of community service, numerous letters of apology and regular public appearances over the next three years during which Duran is supposed to share her experience and lessons learned with school children and civic groups.

Under the plea agreement reached with prosecutors, Duran's attorney has until Wednesday to inform the court of her client's decision.

Duran pleaded guilty in October to a felony charge of embezzlement and four misdemeanors while resigning from office.

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10:20 a.m.

A judge has sentenced New Mexico's former secretary of state to 30 days of a 7.5-year sentence for siphoning money from her election account to fuel a self-professed gambling addiction.

Dianna Duran pleaded guilty in October to a felony charge of embezzlement and four misdemeanors while resigning from office under an agreement with state prosecutors that allowed her to avoid jail time. District Judge T. Glenn Ellington handed down the final sentence Monday in a packed Santa Fe courtroom.

Duran's lawyer was given until noon Wednesday to decide whether to withdraw her plea because the sentence included jail time.

He also ordered her to pay restitution $14,000.

The 60-year-old former state senator from Tularosa had sought leniency in court filings, citing undisclosed personal hardships and a growing gambling disorder.

The charges against Duran have prompted legislative proposals to increase penalties for public officials convicted of corruption and expand campaign finance disclosures and oversight.

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9:55 a.m.

Former New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran made an emotional plea for forgiveness and leniency during her sentencing in a campaign finance scandal.

The disgraced former elected official went before state District Judge T. Glenn Ellington on Monday and apologized to New Mexicans, as well as her family and friends.

Choking back tears, Duran said she's truly sorry. She also referred to statements she made in a private letter to the court.

Duran resigned in October and pleaded guilty to charges that she siphoned campaign donations to fuel a gambling addiction.

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9:45 a.m.

A legislator has asked a judge to be lenient as New Mexico's former secretary of state faces sentencing in a campaign finance scandal.

State Sen. Bill Sharer said during Monday's hearing that Dianna Duran cared about her constituents during her time as secretary of state and that she didn't take taxpayer money.

The Republican lawmaker says Duran already has paid a high price by losing her reputation and her dream of being a public servant.

Duran resigned in October and pleaded guilty to charges that she siphoned campaign donations to fuel a gambling addiction.

Duran could face prison time, but prosecutors recommended five years of supervised probation if she pays restitution and gets treatment for her addiction.

Duran's attorney also read statements from supporters and told the judge that tragedy sparked Duran's gambling addiction.

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9:10 a.m.

New Mexico's former secretary of state has arrived at a courthouse in Santa Fe to be sentenced for funneling campaign donations to personal accounts to fuel a gambling addiction.

Dianna Duran resigned in October and pleaded guilty to felony embezzlement and four misdemeanor counts under a plea bargain reached with prosecutors.

Duran could face prison time, but prosecutors with the state attorney general's office recommended five years of supervised probation as long as Duran pays restitution and gets treatment for her gambling addiction.

It will be up to Judge T. Glenn Ellington on whether to impose any prison time. If he does, Duran can withdraw her guilty pleas.