The Latest: Former New Mexico state official issues apology

AP News
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Posted: Dec 16, 2015 7:49 PM

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

5:30 p.m.

Former New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran has issued a written public apology to comply with part of her sentence in a campaign finance scandal.

She distributed the letter for publication in media outlets on Wednesday as part of a sentence that includes 30 days in jail.

The 60-year-old former state senator wrote that her transgressions were "not borne out of greed but rather a result of very tragic personal circumstances which led to some very poor decisions."

Duran has pleaded guilty to felony embezzlement and money laundering charges involving the use of campaign donations to fuel a gambling addiction.

11:50 a.m.

Former New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran has agreed to a 30-day jail sentence after pleading guilty to charges involving the siphoning of money from her election account to fuel a gambling addiction.

Duran's attorney Erlinda Johnson notified a state district court in Santa Fe on Wednesday of her client's decision, and Duran is set to start serving the sentence on Friday.

The case has led to calls for a major overhaul of the state's campaign finance and ethics laws.

Under a plea agreement, Duran had the choice to withdraw her pleas but did not.

She must pay a $14,000 fine, make restitution of nearly $14,000 to campaign donors, serve five years of probation and perform 2,000 hours of community service at charities.

The sentence issued Monday by District Judge T. Glenn Ellington also involves in-person apologies to campaign donors and appearances before school children across the state.

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8:50 a.m.

Former New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran is facing a noon deadline to choose between jail time and a prolonged legal struggle against fraud charges.

A district court judge has given Duran until mid-day Wednesday to accept a month-long jail sentence on felony embezzlement and money-laundering charges under a plea agreement. Duran is accused of siphoning money from her election account to fuel a gambling addiction.

Her elaborate sentence also calls for making in-person apologies to campaign donors and appearances before school children to explain how her career was cut short by the scandal.

Duran could choose to withdraw her guilty pleas under an agreement with prosecutors.