In what has been dubbed “Lapdance-gate” by local New Mexico media, Sunland Parks’ mayor pro-tem and city manager entered not-guilty pleas for extortion charges. District Attorney Amy Orlando alleges that City Manager Daniel Salinas and Mayor Pro Tem Jaime Aguilera attempted to blackmail mayoral candidate Gerardo Hernandez into withdrawing from the race with a recording of Hernandez receiving a lapdance in his campaign office. (Source) After Hernandez says he refused, the video was leaked to the media.
New Mexico district court judge Lisa Schultz denied a reduction in both defendants’ bail. The district attorney said she felt the risk of flight for the defendants was large.
It’s not the fact that the video was leaked to the media that makes this a criminal case. The issue this hinges on is whether Salinas and Aguilera did, in fact, attempt to extort Hernandez by threatening to release the video if he did not comply and renounce his candidacy.
Aguilera had previously pled no contest to facilitating a bribe while serving as a public official in California five years ago. Community members have apparently also stepped forward with additional allegations, which have not been specified.