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A trial in the racketeering and money laundering case of former state House Majority Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton remains unscheduled but is more than a year away, attorneys in the case agreed at a scheduling conference Thursday.
Stapleton’s attorney, Ahmad Assed, told 2nd Judicial District Judge Lucy Solimon he expected Stapleton’s trial to last at least three weeks.
“There are volumes of work that still need to be done,” including pretrial interviews, Assed told the judge. “Certainly we have our own investigation as well.”
Solimon estimated that a trial will be scheduled some 400 days out. Stapleton, who is not in custody, did not appear at the Zoom hearing Thursday.
Stapleton was indicted in September 2021 on 26 state felony and two misdemeanor counts for her alleged role in routing money meant for vocational education at Albuquerque Public Schools to businesses and charities in which she had an interest.
Stapleton has said through her attorney that she is innocent of any criminal charges and intends to clear her name.
An Albuquerque Democrat, Stapleton represented District 19, east of the University of New Mexico, since she was first elected in 1994. She resigned from the House two days after search warrants were served at her home on July 28, 2021.
Charges against her include one count of racketeering, five counts of money laundering, 10 counts of engaging in an official act for personal financial gain, single counts of fraud, misuse and deposit of public money and soliciting or receiving kickbacks.
Stapleton was fired Aug. 31, 2021, from her $79,000-a-year job at APS as coordinator and director of Career and Technical Education.
Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office has submitted a list of more than 60 potential witnesses that includes a roster of top APS officials, including Superintendent Scott Elder.
Elder asked the AG’s office to investigate Stapleton’s involvement with Robotics Management Learning Systems LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based company that provided software and training for APS vocational students for more than 15 years at a cost of more than $5 million.
Investigators alleged that Stapleton, who oversaw the Robotics contract, diverted more than $950,000 to personal and business accounts, including her personal consulting firm and a family restaurant.