AG and Taos DA exchange jabs after charges dismissed in high-profile case | KOB 4
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AG and Taos DA exchange jabs after charges dismissed in high-profile case

Patrick Hayes
September 05, 2018 06:37 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A war of words has erupted after New Mexico's attorney general criticized the handling of the high-profile case involving the suspects arrested at a northern New Mexico compound last month. 

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"We are not doing our best at bringing justice when it comes to children who are victimized in the State of New Mexico," AG Hector Balderas said, slamming Taos District Attorney Donald Gallegos during an interview with KOB.

Balderas criticized Gallegos for not accepting his help to prosecute the five suspects arrested in connection with the compound and the death of 3-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj. 

"We have one of the best legal teams in the country, yet I don't have the direct authority or jurisdiction to go in and intervene on their behalf," Balderas said. "That needs to change."

On Friday Gallegos fired back via a letter to Balderas, saying, "the biggest untruth you told was that I had declined your offer of assistance."

"I never declined your offer of assistance," he went on to write. "I am disappointed that you would make that assertion."

According to Gallegos, his office was in talks with Balderas's office after a judge denied for a no-bond hold in those cases. But now he is taking a jab at the state's chief law enforcement officer.

"I am sorry that you are not happy that you were unable to get national press by entering the case at an early point, as that is what you seem to be concerned about," he wrote.

Balderas responded with a letter of his own, denying Gallegos's assertions.

"I respectfully disagree with any conclusion other than one that my actions taken with regard to this matter have been to proactively find a solution and respond to the evolving needs of my law enforcement partners," Balderas wrote.

A spokesperson for his office told KOB his offer to help with the case still stands.

Credits

Patrick Hayes

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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