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Attorney: Sunland Park extortion trial likely to be postponed

By Vanessa de la Viña, vanessa@kvia.com
Published On: Jan 11 2013 05:40:44 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 14 2014 08:00:08 PM CST
SUNLAND PARK, N.M. -

Nearly 2 dozen trials are lined up in connection with alleged Sunland Park corruption including bribery, extortion and voter fraud.

Former mayor-elect Daniel Salinas is scheduled for trial Monday -- his first of four cases -- on extortion charges, but his attorney said that may not happen.

Salinas is charged with more than 30 counts including extortion, bribery and illegal kickbacks.

"There are some discovery that has not been produced that is still missing so that is really the main reason," Salinas' attorney, Joshua Spencer, told ABC-7.

Spencer said Salinas' case will now go before a new judge, new prosecutor and new district attorney.

Spencer hopes this helps his client.

"I anticipate to having a voice of reason on the other side, where we didn't have that before. I think it's going to make this case run better and go towards a fair trial," he said.

Salinas is accused of paying a man to secretly videotape mayoral candidate Gerardo Hernandez getting a lap dance. Hernandez was allegedly told if he didn't drop out of the mayoral race, the video would be leaked.

Before Salinas was arrested on extortion charges, he told ABC-7, "I strongly believe this might be a political attack from my opposition."

Salinas was arrested again in April, accused of using city money to pay for prostitutes, drinks and strip clubs in Mexico.

Spencer said Salinas has been in jail for nine months because of "an unreasonably high bond."

"It's been very difficult with the family and it's been very difficult as his attorney to prepare for our case to have a fair trial. Communication with Mr. Salinas is limited and to have a fair trial is much more effective when a person is out of jail and we can go over discovery," Spencer said.

Former city manager Jaime Aguilera pleaded guilty to extortion and tampering with evidence two weeks ago. As part of his plea deal, Aguilera agreed to testify in 16 other Sunland Park cases, including Salinas'.

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