The Santa Fe District Court bench trial for former Rio Arriba County commissioner Barney Trujillo began Thursday (7/22). Trujillo faces charges for failure to properly disclose campaign contributions.
During the trial before Judge Mary Marlow Sommer, the district attorney’s office alleged that Trujillo failed to disclose campaign contributions to Yolanda Salazar’s 2014 campaign for Española School Board. The contribution was in the form of signs.
Former Española school superintendent Eric Martinez was the first witness for the state. Martinez said he did not initially hire Trujillo but renewed his contract for 2016. The contract renewal required a disclosure of campaign contributions which Trujillo signed “NA.”
Martinez said part of Trujillo’s contract was to help provide transparency at the school by developing live recorded school Board meetings as well as operating as a public relations officer.
Trujillo’s contract with the Board was ended by the Board in 2017.
During the trial a 43 minute recording from Special Agent Jon Bergevin from an over hour long interview with Trujillo was played. In the recording Trujillo said he considered the signs a donation. During the interview Trujillo said he did not think there was a violation of the rules because Salazar was not an elected official at the time.
Trujillo’s attorney Kitren Fischer alleged in her opening remarks that Salazar did disclose her campaign contributions to the New Mexico Secretary of State and that the records of her campaign contributions were burned. Fischer also alleged that law enforcement only investigated Trujillo and not any of the other people involved in the situation.
The trial continues July 26, as the state continues its case.