Former Sunland Park mayor-elect awaits trial
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — District Judge Marci Beyer decided to allow the new district attorney and the defense of former Sunland Park mayor-elect Daniel Salinas more time to review the case Monday morning.
Judge Beyer will have the defense attorneys and District Attorney Mark D'Antonio meet in two weeks to update the court on the progress of the case.
"Two weeks is enough time for me to get an overview of the case," D'Antonio said.
D'Antonio takes over the case as district attorney after defeating Amy Orlando in November.
"We're trying to establish our own investigation through law enforcement so it's going to be a long task to get up to speed and figure out the nuances of the case," D'Antonio said.
Judge Beyer also is new on the case.
During a status conference Monday, she asked the defense attorneys if there were any issues about potential conflict of interest with Beyer who said she is familiar with a lot of the parties involved.
"We have no problem with the judge," said Joshua Spencer who represents Daniel Salinas.
D'Antonio could also have a conflict of interest after receiving campaign contributions from defense attorney representing other defendants in the Sunland Park case.
"If there are attorneys that have contributed to my campaign that are actively defending one of the defendants then we'll have to with draw from the case," D'Antonio said.
The district attorney plans on reviewing any possible bias when he examines the case during the extra two weeks the court is allowing.
If there is a conflict the case could be tried by a special prosecutor or in another jurisdiction.
During the next status hearing it's possible a date could be set and consolidating the charges could also happen.
Salinas faces dozens of charges ranging from conspiracy, fraud, extortion and soliciting and receiving illegal kickbacks and is scheduled to appear before two different judges on four indictments.
"Whether the cases be consolidated it would be an issue that we would address again at the status conference something that the court will have to rule on so the court will consider that issue," Spencer said.
Both the defense and the district attorney said they would be ready to start a trial by the middle of March.