- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - An attorney for New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran is asking a judge to disqualify the state’s Attorney General’s Office from Duran’s pending fraud case.

Duran’s lawyer, Erlinda Ocampo Johnson, said Attorney General Hector Balderas had a conflict of interest because he and Duran have sparred in the past, according to a motion filed late Wednesday in Santa Fe District Court. Johnson wrote it seems Balderas has a vendetta against Duran.

“This perversion of the criminal justice system can be seen as nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to seek retribution of the most punitive kind against Ms. Duran,” Johnson said in court documents.

But Attorney General spokesman James Hallinan said there is not a conflict of interest. “We will address our arguments on that issue before the court. After the filing of criminal charges, we took additional measures to facilitate the operations of both of our offices,” Hallinan said.

In addition, the Attorney General’s Office also will no longer represent the Secretary of State’s Office and has returned 31 cases Duran, a Republican, has referred to Balderas, a Democrat, Hallinan said.

The Attorney General’s Office provides legal advice and represents state agencies like the Secretary of State’s Office.

The back and forth is the latest episode in a drama involving Duran, who is charged with funneling campaign contributions into personal bank accounts and later withdrawing large sums while frequenting New Mexico casinos.

She has pleaded not guilty.

However, as she faces calls to resign and possible impeachment, Duran has forwarded cases involving allegations of campaign violations by Democrats, including Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque.

Last month, Maestas questioned Duran’s motives in forwarding the alleged violations to reporters and the Attorney General’s Office without contacting him first.

In a recent interview with the Santa Fe New Mexican, Duran said she would be capable of investigating campaign finance reports of candidates despite her ongoing legal problems.

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