New Mexico’s former secretary of state Dianna Duran pleaded guilty on Friday to embezzlement and money laundering for using campaign contributions to pay gambling debts. She had resigned hours earlier, one of the terms of a plea agreement that, if approved by the judge, could spare her prison time. Speaking to reporters after her appearance before Judge T. Glenn Ellington of State District Court, Ms. Duran said, “I realized that I made some choices that were not healthy, and I will be seeking professional help.” Later, she said she had made her decision to plead guilty “in the best interests of my family and all New Mexicans.” Her sentencing has been scheduled for Dec. 14.
Ms. Duran, a Republican, faced 65 charges after the attorney general, Hector Balderas, a Democrat, filed a criminal complaint in August accusing her of illegally transferring about $13,000 in campaign donations to personal accounts, from which it was used in casinos around the state. Campaign finance reports were modified to hide the transfers.
She had stayed in office despite pressure from both sides of the aisle and calls for her to resign.
As part of the deal, she admitted to six charges, four misdemeanors and two felonies, in exchange for five years of probation.