New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s campaign has paid $62,500 to settle sexual mistreatment claims from a male ex-staffer who said she poured water on his crotch then grabbed it.

By MORGAN LEE

Lujan Grisham’s gubernatorial campaign made five payments of $12,500 every month from November through March to an Atlanta-based law firm representing James Hallinan.

In this file photo, James Hallinan, left, then-spokesman for Michelle Lujan Grisham’s campaign, introduces Lujan Grisham and
then-Gov. Susana Martinez during a news conference at the Roundhouse on Nov. 9, 2018. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Hallinan first accused the Democratic governor in late 2019 of pouring a bottle of water on his crotch while laughing and then grabbing his crotch through his clothes in front of other campaign staffers.

Hallinan first accused the Democratic governor in a tweet in late 2019 (above)

The alleged incident took place during a meeting in 2018 when Lujan Grisham was running for governor and Hallinan was working as her campaign spokesman.

Lujan Grisham’s gubernatorial campaign made five payments of $12,500 every month from November through March
to an Atlanta-based law firm representing James Hallinan (above)

It is not clear when the settlement was agreed upon, with the payout only coming to light as part of a campaign finance report filed Monday with the Secretary of State’s Office.

The five monthly payments are listed as legal expenses in the report and it is not clear if further payments will be made in upcoming months, according to the Albuquerque Journal which first reported on the deal.   

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Jared Leopold, a spokesman for the governor, confirmed to the paper that the payments were part of a settlement agreement resolving ‘numerous dubious and disputed potential claims made by Mr. Hallinan arising from his employment in 2018 with the campaign organization and his subsequent search for employment.’

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Leopold insisted that Lujan Grisham and her campaign team continue to ‘strenuously deny’ Hallinan’s allegations but said a settlement was reached to prevent distraction and litigation costs.   

‘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.’ 

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