The chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court has appointed Bernalillo County District Judge Brett Loveless to preside over the criminal case against disgraced state Sen. Phil Griego. Chief Justice Charles Daniels made the appointment Monday with the concurrence of prosecutors and Griego's defense team. Two retired judges were on the approved list. The selection was announced Tuesday by a court spokesman. Griego is accused of fraud in a real estate deal he brokered involving the sale of a state building to a private entity. He is accused of violating state ethics laws by hiding his role in the transaction and defrauding another broker who should have received part of a commission on the sale. He resigned on the eve of a move to censure him during the 2015 Legislature. Nine Santa Fe District Court judges recused themselves from hearing the case. Griego, a Democrat from San Jose in San Miguel County, pleaded not guilty to fraud, bribery, perjury and tampering with public records.
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