SANTA FE – A state district judge in Albuquerque lifted the temporary restraining order this week that barred a former intern from getting within 100 yards of U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democratic candidate for governor.
Judge Clay Campbell said the order isn’t necessary because the ex-intern, Riley Del Rey, already faces criminal charges in connection with a protest at the state Democratic pre-primary convention earlier this month – and the judge in that case has ordered Del Rey to have no contact with witnesses, such as the congresswoman.
Campbell also said Del Rey has a “highly protected right to political speech” guaranteed by the U.S. and New Mexico constitutions.
Lujan Grisham secured the temporary restraining order a week ago after telling the court that she was fearful of Del Rey’s “threatening behavior,” which included disruptions at events.
Del Rey, for example, faces allegations that she became violent as police officers removed her from the Democratic convention – where she shouted and sounded an air horn to disrupt Lujan Grisham’s speech.
Del Rey, for her part, said that she didn’t want to cause physical harm, that she wanted only to protest against Lujan Grisham, one of three Democrats running for governor.
“I’m exercising my First Amendment right to assemble and protest,” she said in an interview Friday. “As a political candidate, you’re not immune from people’s opinions.”
She alleges Lujan Grisham discriminated against her because she’s a transgender woman.
Lujan Grisham denies the allegation and says she didn’t even know Del Rey is transgender.
Del Rey, a 26-year-old activist from Albuquerque, faces misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace and attempted battery, according to court records.