New Mexico’s Dem governor defends $62,500 settlement of crotch-grab case: ‘I was focused on the pandemic’

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New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham defended her decision to settle with a former campaign staffer who accused her of sexual harassment in 2018, speaking to reporters about it for the first time Friday. 

Grisham’s campaign has paid at least $62,500 to James Hallinan, a 2018 campaign spokesman, who claimed she once dropped water in his lap and then grabbed his crotch in a pre-election meeting. 

The governor has denied the allegations. 

“I was focused on the pandemic, and I’ll stand by that decision [to settle] every minute of every day,” she told reporters in her first in-person comments about the settlement. She also denied there had been any additional settlements or nondisclosure agreements. 

Payments to Hallinan’s attorney were made in five monthly installments to a law firm representing him.

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Grisham campaign spokesman Jared Leopold previously stated the settlement was part of “an agreement settling numerous dubious and disputed potential claims made by Mr. Hallinan arising from his employment in 2018 with the campaign organization” and that she continues to “strenuously deny that there is any merit or truth to Mr. Hallinan’s claims,” according to the Las Cruces Sun-News

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham defended her decision to settle with a former campaign staffer who accused her of sexual harassment in 2018 to reporters for the first time on Friday. (Associated Press)

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham defended her decision to settle with a former campaign staffer who accused her of sexual harassment in 2018 to reporters for the first time on Friday. (Associated Press)