Trujillo fights report, harassment claims

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Trujillo’s lawyer to file motion; Nambé lawmaker says he plans to remain in office

By Tris DeRoma

 A Nambé state legislator does not plan to resign as he continued to push back Friday against claims of sexual harassment and a report released by the Legislative Ethics subcommittee July 27.

State Rep. Carl Trujillo (D-46) responded to the report that found “probable cause” in two out of five allegations involving a female lobbyist. In the other three allegations, the report found "no probable cause" however.

“I didn’t do what I’ve been accused of, so it’s not that I’m fighting anything. I’m just trying to prove my innocence,” Trujillo told the Los Alamos Monitor Friday. 

The legislative findings suggest that there may be evidence to lodge a formal charge against the Democratic lawmaker that may result in discipline.

A date has not been set for the hearing, but Trujillo said he was looking forward to having his accusers testify under oath. 

“My attorney is going to file a motion with the committee saying that we want (the Legislature) to grant subpoena power, because we want you to get the people there under oath,” Trujillo said. 

Trujillo said was not planning to resign, and also took issue with press reports that implied he wanted to run for office again.

“I told the reporters that I was focusing on clearing my name,” he said. “They said, ‘Are you ever run for office again?’ I said I don’t want to rule anything out. So of course, they put a headline like that. What was the reason for that?”

Trujillo said he had already submitted to a polygraph test and submitted two sworn statements to the subcommittee. 

“I challenge the Legislature that if they are really after the truth, they will grant subpoena power so the truth will come out,” Trujillo said. 

The allegations surfaced late in the Democratic primary election in a heated race against his opponent, Andrea Romero, 31. Romero, a champion of progressive causes and embattled former executive director of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities, faces two investigations into questionable expenditures during her time with the coalition. She beat Trujillo in the primary with 3,076 votes. Trujillo received 2,763 votes in the district that includes some of the northern end of Santa Fe County, four pueblos, parts of Española and several small communities.

With no Republican in the race, Romero was virtually assured the win in November. However, since the primary election, Democrat Heather Nordquist has qualified as a write-in candidate for the 46th District against Andrea Romero.

Trujillo, 51, a Los Alamos National Laboratory material science researcher, said is looking forward to clearing his name. 

“First of all, this is just probable cause,” Trujillo said of the report’s findings. “Everybody thinks that this is about guilt or innocence. It’s not… It’s just probable cause.” 

In May, a lobbyist for the Animal Protection Voters of New Mexico, Lisa Bonar released an open letter to the Los Alamos Monitor alleging Trujillo sexually harassed her on multiple occasions while collaborating on legislation in 2013 and 2014. 

In her letter, she said Trujillo touched her inappropriately and that Trujillo also closed her out of the legislative process when she rejected his advances.

The report dismissed the claims of retaliation.

“Special counsel found insufficient, credible evidence that Representative Trujillo retaliated against Ms. Bonar and APV (Animal Protection Voters) after Ms. Bonar’s rejection of Representative Trujillo’s conduct by allegedly forgoing work on HB 20 (the spay/neuter bill) and otherwise failing to communicate with APV about animal-related legislation,” the report said. 

The report also noted that the director of the Animal Protection Voters of New Mexico, Elisabeth Jennings, thanked Trujillo shortly after the bill passed in a Facebook post. 

Trujillo is looking forward to the hearing as a chance to clear his name.

“I believe in the #metoo movement. I believe that people should not put up with harassment of any sort, sexual or non-sexual, by any gender… but this is not about that, this about something that is not true,” Trujillo said.