Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – The state Republican Party has reached a small financial settlement with the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office after accusing prosecutors of failing to turn over public records.
The agreement is for $1,338.
It wasn’t part of the settlement, but the state GOP also received the records it requested, centering on vandalism at the party’s headquarters.
Chief Deputy District Attorney James Grayson said this week that prosecutors turned over the records as soon as the Attorney General’s Office issued an opinion clearing their release.
The district attorney, he said, was trying to balance the Inspection of Public Records Act and a separate law that restricts the release of arrest records for people accused of, but not charged with, a crime. They had hoped to get guidance from the attorney general, but the Republican Party filed suit first.
“We were sort of between a rock and a hard place,” Grayson said.
In 2019, someone spray painted “traitors” on the Republican Party headquarters in Albuquerque and “still traitors” about a year later. Security cameras captured the second act of vandalism.
Prosecutors initially charged a 32-year-old man in the case, but later dismissed charges, citing inconclusive identification of the defendant based on surveillance footage, a credible alibi witness and “insufficient evidence” to prove the case.
In October 2020, the Republican Party filed a lawsuit accusing the District Attorney’s Office of illegally denying its request for public records on the case. In court, the party sought not only the records, but also financial penalties for failing to release the records when requested.
The settlement was finalized earlier this month.
The Republican Party did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the agreement.