DA Brandenburg asks feds to probe ‘politically motivated’ Albuquerque police investigation

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Note: This story has been updated with a comment from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – District Attorney Kari Brandenburg has asked for a federal investigation of the Albuquerque Police Department’s conduct as it pursued bribery charges against her last year — a case that, according to the state attorney general, was “politically motivated.”

Brandenburg says she wants to know whose motivations drove the police investigation, which resulted in no charges, and what, exactly they were. So, she has made a referral to the U.S. Department of Justice for investigation.

Elizabeth Martinez, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque, said in an email that she could “neither confirm nor deny that (the office) is conducting a criminal investigation into this matter.”

In a 36-minute interview on Wednesday with KRQE News 13, Brandenburg made her first public remarks about the matter since Attorney General Hector Balderas released a set of findings clearing the four-term DA of criminal wrongdoing. Balderas also determined that Brandenburg had helped to create an appearance of impropriety by communicating with the victims of her adult son’s burglaries and by facilitating the reimbursement of one of them.

Detective David Nix and top APD officials, including Police Chief Gorden Eden, believed Brandenburg’s actions met the police standard of probable cause to seek charges against her for bribery or intimidation of a witness.

On Wednesday, Brandenburg reiterated that, in her estimation, she did nothing wrong or unethical. And she said she agrees with Balderas’ finding that APD pursued the case for political reasons.

In the weeks before APD sent the case to the Attorney General’s Office for review and prosecution, Brandenburg told attorneys for officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez — as well as an attorney for the police union — that she planned to charge the officers with murder for the March 2014 shooting of homeless camper James Boyd.

In the interview with News 13, Brandenburg talked about fearing for her personal safety; the fractured relationship between her office, the top brass at APD and City Hall and how the local criminal justice system has been impacted by it; and other matters.

Spokeswomen for the city and for APD said Mayor Richard Berry and Eden would be willing to meet with Brandenburg to discuss her concerns.

Watch the complete interview with Brandenburg below:

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