Dianna Duran entered a not guilty plea today to charges of fraud, embezzlement, money laundering and other crimes for allegedly using campaign contributions to cover personal spending at casinos.
Eighteen days ago, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas filed 64 charges against Duran, accusing her of withdrawing hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign funds to pay off casino debts. Duran has not showed up to work since those charges were announced.
Duran’s attorney, Erlinda Johnson, attempted to have parts of the case dismissed, but the judge denied the motion.
Duran will be released on her own recognizance. Her conditions of release include no drugs or alcohol and she cannot leave New Mexico unless it is for state business.
A preliminary hearing is expected to take place sometime between mid-November and December.
Duran’s attorney released a statement about the case Monday, saying no one should jump to conclusions.
“We have just been served with the complaint and information filed by the State Attorney General’s Office. We can say that in reviewing the complaint, we have identified some serious potential violations of law by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, in conducting the investigation,” Johnson wrote in a statement. “We hope this is not a politically motivated case and that the attorney general is not engaging in a selective prosecution of a political adversary. We ask the public to not jump to conclusions and we look forward to addressing the allegations in Court.”
A special committee of state legislators will meet Tuesday to decide whether or not to move ahead with impeachment proceedings against Duran.