Williams Stapleton trial expected to begin early next year

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It’s been just more than a year since search warrants were executed on the home and business of Sheryl Williams Stapleton, a former state representative and Albuquerque Public Schools administrator.

KOB 4 spoke with New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas about the status of her case. 

“We already have a trial setting early spring of next year, so we are preparing for trial,” said Balderas. 

This started in July 2021 when the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office and state police executed the search warrants.

“We executed three warrants. One of the NM legislative body, APS school, and of course, the representative’s home,” Balderas said. 

Investigators believed she funneled more than $5 million from the Roundhouse, through Albuquerque Public Schools, to her own private interests. They say she did that by creating a fake educational software company called “Robotics Management Learning Systems” – and using her position to secure a contract with APS.

In September 2021, she was indicted on 28 state charges including racketeering, fraud, and money laundering. Each charge is a second-degree felony that could carry a sentence of nine years in prison.

“We move forward on charges, we are working with the federal authorities as well because they have an active investigation,” said Balderas. 

Corruption cases involving state officials have gone to trial before like state Sen. Phil Griego. People have seen them end in plea deals, like with former New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran. 

While each case is different, KOB 4 asked the attorney general how decisions for high-profile cases are made.

“One, whether there’s some kind of responsibility taken, number one. Number two the strength of the evidence is important to weigh in. This case is also unique because there is a federal case and so we will take into account the federal authorities input because we would want to make sure there’s a global resolution for all parties involved,” said Balderas. 

For now, he says his team is getting ready to make their case to a jury. 

“There may be a resolution in this case, but I am preparing for trial and getting the team ready. to present our case,” Balderas said.