- Associated Press - Sunday, April 20, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A former campaign manager for New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez accused of hijacking her campaign’s email system and lying about it is seeking information tied to a state contract for the Downs at Albuquerque, a newspaper reported Saturday.

In court documents filed last week, Jamie Estrada’s attorney said evidence related to the Downs Racetrack & Casino lease could reveal possible credibility problems with Martinez and other potential witnesses, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported (https://bit.ly/Qpr9fq ).

“Because the exposure of the racino emails gives Martinez and other likely witnesses motives and biases that raise serious questions about their credibility, the (requested evidence) is material to the defense,” defense attorneys stated in their filing.

Prosecutors argued the Downs case is unconnected to the charges Estrada faces.

Estrada briefly served as campaign manager in 2009 as Martinez was starting her bid for governor. An FBI affidavit in the case says he was fired, but Estrada says he left the campaign to run for a seat on the Public Regulation Commission. Martinez was elected in 2010.

By taking control of the email system, according to prosecutors, Estrada obtained correspondence by the governor, her staff and political supporters. Some of the electronic messages were later leaked to Martinez critics, who publicly released them. According to prosecutors, Estrada released emails involving the casino leasing contract, which was approved in 2011. However, none of those emails was mentioned in Estrada’s indictment.

Estrada has pleaded not guilty to charges of intercepting email in the campaign account and making false statements to federal investigators.

The lease that allowed a large casino to be built on state fairgrounds has drawn vocal criticism from current and former governmental appointees of Martinez‘s. Critics questioned whether political contributions by track owners influenced her administration agreeing to a 25-year lease with the Downs of Albuquerque. The governor has previously denied that claim.

Estrada is scheduled to go on trial July 15.


Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, https://www.sfnewmexican.com

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