ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In a trial lasting less than five minutes, Metro Court Judge Jason Greenlee this morning dismissed a case against Sandoval County Treasurer Laura Montoya.
Greenlee dismissed the case without prejudice which means it can be refiled.
Montoya was charged with aggravated battery arising from a spat on Feb. 9 with her ex-boyfriend Abdul Kebe over cell-phone photos. Kebe alleged that Montoya punched and bit him. The Metropolitan court in Bernalillo County issued a criminal summons at the request of an Albuquerque police officer who responded to a call from Kebe.
Montoya was present at the trial but Kebe was a no-show.
Prosecutor Jessica Randall said she spoke with Kebe by phone on May 28 to made him aware of the trial. She said he indicated he had no plans to attend the trial.
Randall said Kebe had also been served with a subpoena.
Montoya’s attorney Antonio Maestas told the judge that the situation his client found herself in was a “serious self-defense issue.”
Greenlee responded, “Maybe that’s the reason why this guy doesn’t want to talk under oath.”
Maestas issued an emailed statement after the trial which said, “Laura is grateful to those who stood beside her during the pendency of this case. She has been vindicated and looks forward to continuing to serve her community.”
According to the criminal summons, Montoya asked Kebe to delete pictures of her from his phone and when he refused, she seized the phone and refused to give it back.
It said Montoya bit Kebe’s arm and punched him with a closed fist as they tussled over the phone. Montoya was able to leave the house with the phone whereupon Kebe called police. The summons said Kebe had a bite mark with teeth impressions on one arm.
Police later met with Montoya and retrieved the phone.
A lapel camera video the Journal obtained through a public records request shows Montoya telling police she bit Kebe when he had her in a choke hold so that he would let her go.
The video shows the officer telling Montoya he is going to issue a summons because her account of the incident was not consistent with the mark’s on Kebe.
Montoya, a Democrat, was elected as Sandoval County Treasurer in 2012 in her first run for elected office.