One of the top lawyers in state government calls an investigation by the Third Judicial District Attorney into missing emails "a taxpayer-funded political witch hunt," but she never directly addresses the allegations in her prepared statement.
Third Judicial District Attorney Mark D'Antonio released a damning report Tuesday that says emails and entire hard drives vanished under the administration of his predecessor, Amy Orlando.
Gov. Susana Martinez appointed fellow Republican Orlando to take her spot as the Las Cruces-area district attorney when Martinez took the governorship in 2011. Orlando served in the job for a year before losing the election to D'Antonio, a Democrat.
"The district attorney's election was almost two years ago and the citizens of Doña Ana County should expect that the district attorney and his investigators ought to be spending their time on investigating and prosecuting crimes, rather than on taxpayer-funded political witch hunts," Orlando says in a prepared statement sent from a private email address Tuesday night. "My office fully complied with public records requests and laws and that's why he's left with nothing but baseless innuendos and black-helicopter conspiracy theories."
Orlando has not yet directly responded to D'Antonio's investigation, which found that emails, hard drives and documents vanished under Orlando.
Not all the emails under Orlando and Martinez administration's went missing, however,
D'Antonio also released emails showing Orlando directing staffers to lie about changes to her calendar access and requesting that one staffer not tell the incoming D'Anontio administration how to obtain up to $300,000 in federal grant money for the office.
The progressive advocacy group Progress Now New Mexico says it found emails that Orlando tipped off Republican political operative Jay McCleskey about a criminal investigation into GOP voter fraud.
D'Antonio has not leveled criminal charges.
D'Antonio's probe came after the Democratic Party of New Mexico requested to inspect emails of officials in the office. When they searched for the emails, officials in D'Antonio's office could not find them.
In May 2014, Orlando became the top lawyer for the Department of Public Safety, a Martinez agency in charge of state police.
Click here for SFR's coverage of the issue.
KOB has more here.
Mother Jones also covered the controversy.