SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A state judge decided Thursday that a legal team should get more time to prepare a defense to fraud and other charges against embattled Secretary of State Dianna Duran given the complexity of the case.
Judge T. Glenn Ellington extended deadlines for filing motions and pushed back a preliminary hearing by more than a month to Dec. 1 despite opposition from the state attorney general's office.
Defense attorney Erlinda Johnson made the request for more time last month, saying she had to review information provided by prosecutors that includes hours of audio interviews and grand jury proceedings as well as more than 20,000 pages of banking records and other financial documents.
"This is a very technical case," Johnson told the judge about the 65 counts of fraud, embezzlement and tampering with state records faced by her client. "The documents are vast."
Prosecutors wanted the preliminary hearing to proceed as scheduled later this month.
Duran, a Republican who is serving her second term as New Mexico's top elections official, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. She remained silent during Thursday's hearing and while her attorney spoke with reporters outside the courthouse.