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New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham paid out at least $62,500 to settle with a former staffer who accused her of grabbing his crotch in 2018, the Albuquerque Journal first reported.
James Hallinan, a former spokesman for Lujan Grisham’s campaign, accused her of assaulting him at the home of state Rep. Deborah Armstrong during a meeting months before the 2018 election. Hallinan told the Santa Fe New Mexican that Grisham dumped water in his lap and then reached toward his genitals.
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“Governor Lujan Grisham and Mr. Hallinan have resolved any differences or issues to their satisfaction. I am not able to provide any further information,” Hallinan’s attorney Rachel Berlin Benjamin told Fox News in a statement.
Both Lujan Grisham’s office and Armstrong have denied any such event occurred.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham removes her face mask at the start of an update on the COVID-19 outbreak in New Mexico and the State’s effort to limit the impact of the disease on residents, during a news conference at the State Capitol on Wednesday. (Eddie Moore/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)
Lujan Grisham and the campaign “strenuously deny that there is any merit or truth to Mr. Hallinan’s claims, including his claims about difficulty finding or keeping work after the campaign,” campaign spokesman Jared Leopold told the Albuquerque Journal.
“They reached a settlement in order to avoid the continuing distraction and significant expense of possible litigation and allow them to concentrate on working for the people of New Mexico during this pandemic.”
Hallinan said he’d been assaulted in front of Armstrong, Grisham’s campaign adviseer Dominick Cabello and two staffers. The governor’s spokeswoman, Nora Meyers Sackett, said: “We’re a rambunctious bunch. I think they were playing around with water.”
Hallinan later tweeted that he’d endured “long, horrific abuse” under Grisham and accused her staff of trying to cover it up. He said he felt as if he’d been “under her thumb.”
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Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, has held office since 2019.
Fox News’ inquiry to Lujan Grisham’s office was not returned at the time of publication.
Fox News’ Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.
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