ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Prosecutors are trying to bolster their case against the former Torrance County sheriff accused of embezzlement by exposing his checkered past as a cop, including his time with the Albuquerque Police Department.
Magistrate judge and former Torrance County Sheriff Heath White has been nailed with multiple charges after allegedly embezzling more than $20,000 while sheriff to buy firearms and other equipment for himself; even update his personal truck.
Investigators said some of the embezzled goods were found in a shed at his Edgewood home.
“Judge White did not commit any crimes,” White’s attorney, Sam Bregman, said Wednesday.
Motions filed by the Attorney General’s office on Monday are requesting White’s personnel files from his time working at APD and the Torrance County Sheriff’s Office be made public. According to the orders, they’re claiming these files are relevant to this current case to show White’s “misuse of public office.”
It’s a claim Bregman doesn’t buy.
“Somehow they want to soil his reputation for this case. It shows how weak their case is right now,” Bregman stated.
Among the records the state is hoping to get are details about a 2004 case in which White was accused of stealing $700 from a DWI suspect during an arrest. The motion states White resigned from APD during the investigation
“They’re saying something that happened 15 years ago that was never sustained is somehow relevant to his completely different alleged conduct now?” Bregman asked.
Other cases from White’s employment history include settlements for his alleged excessive use of force and assault while arresting people during traffic stops.
In this new case, Bregman said White tried to give the sheriff’s department property back that he’s accused of keeping, like cameras and surveillance equipment, and that this case comes down to the county needing to find more storage space.
“Unfortunately, this is going to shed some light on the county’s practices,” Bregman said.
Matt Baca with the AG’s office sent KRQE News 13 the following statement on Wednesday about filing the motions:
The Office of the Attorney General must evaluate all relevant evidence in this case, and we look forward to presenting it to a jury.
The preliminary hearing to decide if there’s enough evidence to take White to trial has been continued for now.