Disgraced official ready to surrender in New Mexico

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Duran to begin 30-day jail term today.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Former New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran accepted a 30-day jail sentence on Wednesday after pleading responsible earlier to expenses involving the siphoning of cash from her election account to gasoline a playing habit.

Duran’s lawyer Erlinda Johnson notified a state district courtroom in Santa Fe of her shopper’s choice, and Duran is about to start out serving the sentence on Friday. For violating the very laws she was expected to uphold, Duran must hand-deliver letters of apology to political donors, write another letter to the citizens of New Mexico, perform thousands of hours of community service and make at least four public appearances each month for the next three years to share her story with school children and civic groups. Duran pleaded guilty in October to felony embezzlement and money laundering charges and four misdemeanor counts while resigning from office under an agreement with state prosecutors.

She should pay a $14,000 high-quality, make restitution of almost $14,000 to marketing campaign donors, serve 5 years of probation and carry out 2,000 hours of group service at charities. He suspended all but a month of the initial 7.5-year sentence and ordered Duran to report to jail Friday after denying a motion that would have allowed her to spend time with her family over the holidays. Johnson stated she nonetheless might request modifications to parts of the sentence “which might be tantamount to public shaming.” Main provisions similar to jail time and monetary penalties won’t be challenged, she stated. Duran, a 60-year-old former state senator from Tularosa, had sought leniency in courtroom filings, citing undisclosed private hardships and a rising playing dysfunction.

Although her case involved private campaign donations, he said “the damage created is much broader” given her position as the state’s top elections official. He noted that Winter employed a political strategist, McCleskey Media Strategies, in his most recent campaign and that the firm also has worked for Duran. “There’s a lot of cleaning up that has to be done,” Kabourek said. “I think there is a fair question about whether this guy can get it done.” Defense attorney Erlinda Johnson said her client’s gambling problem dates to 2010, the year she became the first Republican elected to the secretary of state’s office since 1928.

Duran’s public pension of nearly $60,000 a year will remain intact, despite a 2012 law that allows judges to increase sentences against the value of salary and fringe benefits. Her case led to legislative proposals to increase penalties for public officials convicted of corruption and expand campaign finance disclosures and oversight. If Duran rejects the sentence, the court would reinstate a 65-count criminal complaint alleging Duran mingled campaign and personal funds as she made cash withdrawals in 2012 and 2013 of more than $400,000 at various New Mexico casinos.

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