April 20, 2014

This Week's SFR Picks

Newsletters

* indicates required

Guides

 

 
Bregman

Dem Party Chair, Others Linked To 'Emailgate' Controversy

The unfolding scandal keeps getting juicier

June 6, 2013, 2:15 pm
By Joey Peters

 New Mexico Democratic Party Chair Sam Bregman, pictured above, is among more names publicly linked to the unfolding "Emailgate" scandal.

Over the past two days, the US Attorney's office in New Mexico unsealed seven search warrant affidavits on the residences or email accounts of former Gov. Susana Martinez campaign manager Jamie Estrada, former Martinez campaign assistant Anissa Ford, Democratic Party consultant Jason Loera and liberal-leaning Independent Source PAC contributor Bruce Wetherbee.

Emailgate Recap

The story starts with Estrada, who last week was indicted on 14 counts for allegedly intercepting emails from Martinez' campaign account between July 2011 and June 2012. According to his indictment, Estrada allegedly renewed the Susana2010.com domain in the summer of 2011 and directed all the emails under the domain name to his Google account.

The Susana 2010 emails, which were subsequently leaked to the media, show several instances of key Martinez administration members doing public business on private email accounts. Last summer, Martinez asked the FBI to investigate whether the Susana2010 emails were stolen, leading to Estrada's indictment last week.

The unsealed affidavits say that Estrada sent some of the Susana2010 emails to Loera and Ford, which the FBI concluded was enough information to show that the three were in communication.

Loera, according to an affidavit, controlled an email address called omarravenherst@gmail.com which had the Susana2010 emails on it (Omar Ravenhurst was the pen name for 1960s counterculture neo-pagan writer Kerry Wendell Tornley, whose writings were popularized in Robert Anton Wilson's "Illuminatus! Trilogy").

When FBI agents searched Loera's home last November, the affidavit says they found four CDs with sexually graphic images of children. Earlier this week, Loera, pictured below, was indicted on three counts of allegedly harboring child pornography (SFR first reported on Loera's connections with "emailgate" late Monday night).

Loera, who last year worked for Bregman's Grassroots PAC before Bregman became the Democratic Party chair, allegedly sent one of the Susana2010 emails to him. Bregman, an Albuquerque attorney, submitted the Susana2010 email in question during a State Personnel Office hearing for a client of his who attempting to get his state job back.

Yesterday, Martinez released a statement on her Facebook account criticizing Bregman for his alleged role in Emailgate.

"Bregman was very active in trying to use the emails to attack me," she wrote.

Today, Bregman countered, claiming that Martinez knows "full well that the day after I received the email in question I personally hand delivered the email to a judge and to the Governor's lawyers in a judicial proceeding."

"For the Governor to suggest or imply that I have done anything improper or violated any law is reprehensible," he wrote.

One of the affidavits also says the Susana2010.com emails went to Wetherbee's own email address. Wetherbee told the Associated Press that he knew Loera from Democratic Party campaigns but that neither his house nor computer had been searched by the FBI. Independent Source PAC, which Wetherbee has done work for, last year leaked many of the Susana2010 emails to various media outlets, including SFR. Wetherbee declined to name his source to the AP, citing that he was acting as a journalist.

Ford's attorney, Jerry Wertheim, told the Albuquerque Journal that she only served as a witness in the Emailgate case.

The Downs at Albuquerque

Wertheim also told the Journal that the FBI interviewed Ford about the Downs at Albuquerque lease controversy. This follows former Martinez campaign and Susana PAC finance director Andrea Goff's statement last weekend claiming that she had been interviewed by FBI agents about the Downs deal as well.

Critics have long questioned the circumstances that led to the racino's 25-year lease, approved by the Martinez administration in late 2011. FBI agents also interviewed State Fair Commissioner Charlotte Rode, a longtime critic of the Downs deal, about the lease deal last summer, according to her.  

While Martinez and her allies have asserted that Goff's FBI interviews were only part of the Emailgate case, both Goff and Ford have said otherwise.

Goff's statement says that "none of the questions were related to the recent investigation and indictment of Jamie Estrada." Wertheim told the Journal that Ford had also "been questioned separately on the Downs at Albuquerque deal by a different set of agents" and added that "there was no linkage between the email investigation and the Downs investigation." 

In the same Journal story, Martinez' spokesman Enrique Knell accused Ford of being "a disgruntled former campaign staffer who was extremely bitter when she wasn't offered a position after the campaign."

Bregman's statement, just like Estrada's last week, accused Martinez of deflecting the narrative from the controversy over the Downs deal.

Peter St. Cyr contributed reporting.

View the unsealed affidavits below:

 

comments powered by Disqus
 
Close
Close
Close