Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
Former University of New Mexico Athletics Director Paul Krebs’ arraignment has been pushed back to Friday after a judge raised concerns over the method used by the Attorney General’s Office to launch the case.
Krebs, 62, stood quietly beside his attorney, Paul Kennedy during a brief hearing Monday. It was his first court appearance since the AG’s Office filed a criminal complaint in state District Court early this month accusing him of five felonies – including fraud and money laundering – stemming from a 2015 golf trip to Scotland.
Krebs is accused of using his position within the university to “pursue his private interest by planning and participating in the trip,” which was paid for in part with public money. And when the trip came under scrutiny years later, the complaint says, Krebs destroyed electronic documents, interfered with the release of public records and instructed others to do so, too.
At what was supposed to be his arraignment Monday morning, Chief Judge Stan Whitaker questioned the office’s decision to initiate the case using a complaint rather than a criminal information or indictment. Typically, Whitaker said, a complaint would be filed across the street in Metropolitan Court, and a judge would consider whether there is probable cause to confine the defendant.
“In the 12½ years I’ve been here, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this,” Whitaker said of the Krebs complaint.
The proper charging document in a District Court felony case, Whitaker said, is an information or indictment.
David Carl, spokesman for the AG’s Office, said in a statement Monday that a complaint “provides ample and specific notice of the charges to the criminally accused beyond what is normally available in a criminal information.”
Whitaker asked prosecutors to file an information within 24 hours so that Krebs can be arraigned Friday.
“That’s not a suggestion,” Whitaker said. “That’s a requirement of this court.”
Kennedy told the judge he agreed. Reached after the hearing, he declined to comment.
Prosecutors plan to file an information, Carl said, in addition to the complaint, and either a preliminary examination or grand jury hearing will take place within 60 days. But he also said that the complaint is permissible under court rules.
A criminal complaint often includes an account of the circumstances supporting criminal charges; in Krebs’ case, it is a nine-page document that details the AG’s Office’s investigation. In contrast, an information or indictment usually includes only essential facts, the name of the alleged offense and a statute number.