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Republican primary candidates at odds over email hacking claims

Updated: 03/06/2014 11:32 AM | Created: 03/05/2014 10:11 PM
By: Caleb James and Elizabeth Reed, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A serious legal battle is brewing in the Republican primary race for one of New Mexico's U.S. senate seats, and it's pitting members of the same party against each other. 

David Clements and Allen Weh are both Republicans fighting for their party's nomination to challenge Democrat Tom Udall for his seat in the senate.

But on a website called BernalilloCoverup.com, Clements accuses Weh's campaign manager of hacking Clements' campaign email account.

A lawyer for Weh's campaign manager, Diego Espinoza, confirmed he will file a defamation lawsuit against Clements before the end of the week.

He sent us a statement that reads:

"David Clement's accusations are absurd. His intentions were clearly to disparage Diego Espinoza to benefit his struggling campaign.  Diego denies every accusation leveled at him and Mr. Clements will be held accountable for his publicity stunt in court."

On Thursday morning, Clements' campaign released a statement in response to the possible defamation lawsuit:

"It is astounding to watch Allen Weh sacrifice his own campaign manager in hopes of driving the story away from the fact that he underperformed and underwhelmed Republican delegates at Saturday's pre-primary convention. Announcing a lawsuit, via press release, before the case has even been filed is a clear indication that Allen Weh and Diego Espinoza's case is nothing but a publicity stunt.  Nonetheless, we look forward to setting a trial date immediately, as truth is an absolute defense to the claim of defamation."

David Clements (right) has accused Allen Weh's campaign manager of hacking his email.

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