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.
Embattled New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran entered a not guilty plea today to charges of fraud, embezzlement, money laundering and other crimes for allegedly using campaign contributions to cover personal spending at casinos. Duran was stoic during the 30-minute appearance before District Judge Glenn Ellington. She did not speak to reporters while leaving the courthouse through a side exit, and her husband at one point pushed away a television reporter’s microphone. During the hearing, Duran’s attorney raised several technical complaints about the charges filed against Duran, but the judge rejected motions to dismiss part or all of the case.
New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran faced escalating pressure Monday to resign, as a slew of criminal charges related to her alleged use of campaign contributions to pay for personal expenses, including gambling debt, threatened to put an end to a nearly 30-year run in elected office. Top-ranking House Democrats said they were prepared to take the first steps in a possible impeachment effort if Duran did not resign, while Republican lawmakers also voiced concern about the seriousness of the charges leveled against Duran. House Speaker Don Tripp, R-Socorro, called the impeachment talk premature but said Duran’s alleged withdrawal of hundreds of thousands of dollars at casinos around the state raised concern about a possible gambling addiction, calling the situation a “personal tragedy. I’m confident the secretary of state will take personal responsibility for any mistakes she made,” Tripp told the Journal. However, Duran’s attorney said late Monday that the secretary of state is preparing to fight the charges.
In Europe, it’s known as novelty betting. Bookmakers from Paddy Power to William Hill post odds and take bets on a variety of activities, from who looks good to win the Nobel Prizes this year to whether Prince Harry’s next girlfriend will be a blonde or a brunette and who might host the Oscars in 2014. Paddy Power’s favorite to host the Oscar’s next year is Justin Timberlake at 2-to-1 . The odds are 8-to-11 that Harry’s next girlfriend will be a blonde. But what produces increased publicity if only modest handle for British bookmakers is betting on U.S. politics. And oddsmakers and gambling industry analysts in Las Vegas said that if successful, a Nevada state senator’s efforts to legalize betting on politics will produce more notoriety than revenue. The state Senate Finance Committee on Monday introduced Senate Bill 418, which would allow betting on federal elections in Nevada casinos. Chairman Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, said Nevada is missing out on millions of dollars by not allowing betting on presidential and federal elections. He also said he sees nothing wrong about adding the Academy Awards to the list of events for betting.