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Former state senator on trial for corruption testifies

Kai Porter
November 14, 2017 06:45 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. -- Former state Sen. Phil Griego took the stand in his own defense on Tuesday. He’s been on trial for the past two weeks, accused of using his political position to benefit from the sale of a state-owned building in Santa Fe.

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Prosecutors say Griego got the ball rolling on a piece of legislation and fast-tracked it through the Roundhouse in 2014. It approved the sale of a state-owned building and Griego made a $50,000 broker’s fee from that sale.

Griego pleaded not guilty to eight counts, including bribery and fraud. If found guilty on all counts, he could face 23 and a half years in prison.

On the stand, Griego testified he thought he was following the rules and said nowhere in his mind did he think he had a conflict of interest. Griego said he wanted to avoid any appearance of impropriety, so he asked another lawmaker to carry the legislation approving the building’s sale.

But Griego admitted he didn’t tell that lawmaker about his role as a broker in the sale and said he wishes he would have told the whole world. Griego also talked about why he made the decision to walk off the Senate floor when the joint resolution approving the sale came up for a vote.

"Throughout the process of the resolution, I had taken extra steps to avoid an appearance of impropriety," Griego said. "This was the last step that needed to be taken to avoid the appearance of impropriety, so I took a walk to continue to avoid the appearance of impropriety

Closing arguments will begin Wednesday morning, and then Griego’s fate will be in the hands of the jury.

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Kai Porter

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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