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Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MST

  • TRIBAL OFFICER-RAPE ARREST

Isleta Pueblo police officer accused of raping DWI suspectALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A now-former tribal police officer for a pueblo near Albuquerque faces felony charges accusing him of raping a woman he had arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Leon Martin remained jailed Thursday after being booked Tuesday on charges of criminal sexual penetration, false imprisonment, demanding a bribe and violation of ethical principles of public service. Online court records didn't list an attorney who could comment on Martin's behalf. Isleta Pueblo Gov. Vernon Abeita said that Martin no longer was an officer for the pueblo's police department. Martin was arrested after a woman reported he raped her following a car crash. 

  • OIL DEPENDENCE-NEW MEXICO

New Mexico study highlights growing dependence on oil sectorSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A study commissioned by a coalition of oil and natural gas businesses in New Mexico shows that state and local governments are more reliant than ever before on the industry to pay for basic public services including public education. The New Mexico Oil and Gas Association announced study results Wednesday that link $5.3 billion in annual state and local government income to the petroleum industry, while association President Leland Gould said the oil industry contributions are great news for teachers, students, healthcare workers and others. About 200 educators urged elected leaders to help diversify the economy and reduce reliance on the oil in a letter writing campaign.

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION

Navajo Nation: 63 more COVID-19 cases, no deaths for 3rd dayWINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Wednesday reported 63 more COVID-19 cases, but no additional deaths for the third consecutive day. The latest daily virus figures brought the tribe's totals to 39,561 cases since the pandemic began. The known death toll remains at 1,542. Based on cases from Nov. 12-25, the Navajo Department of Health on Monday issued an advisory for 65 communities due to uncontrolled spread of COVID-19. Tribal President Jonathan Nez has again called for everyone on the vast reservation to get fully vaccinated or get a booster shot and wear masks.

  • AP-US-JEFFREY-EPSTEIN-MAXWELL-TRIAL

Maxwell jurors hear expert testimony about sexual predatorsNEW YORK (AP) — Jurors at Ghislaine Maxwell's trial have gotten a psychologist's overview of how sexual predators gradually lure and ensnare child victims. Lisa Rocchio testified Thursday that "child sexual abuse is a process" that can include giving presents, inculcating trust and gradually introducing more sexualized talk and touching. She provided her expert perspective but no particulars about the accusers in the case against Maxwell. The 59-year-old Maxwell has denied charges she helped  recruit underage teenage girls into sexual abuse by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein. He killed himself in 2019 while jailed on sex trafficking charges.

  • RIO ARRIBA SHERIFF-TRIAL

Rio Arriba County sheriff is convicted on 2 felony countsSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan has been convicted on two felony counts of aiding a felon and intimidating a witness in 2017. Jurors in the 1st Judicial District Court deliberated only about five hours before reaching the verdicts Wednesday. The 60-year-old Lujan remains free pending his sentencing hearing Thursday. Prosecutors say Lujan is facing up to 4 ½ years in prison. The verdict came after a three-day trial for Lujan, which was his second on the charges that stem from allegations he helped former Española City Councilor Philip Chacon evade police following a high-speed chase. The first trial in the case ended in a mistrial after jurors deadlocked. 

  • PROP FIREARM-SHOOTING

Lawyer backs up Baldwin's assertion he didn't pull triggerNEW YORK (AP) — The assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin a prop gun that went off on a New Mexico film set, killing a cinematographer, backs up the actor's assertion that he did not pull the trigger. Lisa Torraco, a lawyer for assistant director David Halls, told ABC News that her client has always said Baldwin never pulled the trigger. Baldwin said during an exclusive ABC interview with George Stephanopoulos that airs Thursday that he did not pull the gun's trigger before it went off. Investigators say Baldwin fired a prop gun that had been loaded with live ammunition. The prime-time special on the shooting airs Thursday at 8 p.m. on ABC.

  • PUBLIC EDUCATION-NEW MEXICO

New Mexico governor seeks pay increase for public schoolsSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says she will pursue a 7% pay increase for educators and staff at K-12 public schools as well as higher minimum salaries for teachers at various career stages. The proposal announced Wednesday would boost salaries for more than 50,000 public education workers across the state at an annual cost of about $280 million. The Legislature convenes in January to craft a general fund spending plan for the fiscal year that starts in July 2022. The governor's office estimates that the proposed changes would increase the statewide average for teacher pay to just over $64,000 a year.

  • MEDIA-BALDWIN

Baldwin to ABC about shooting: 'I didn't pull the trigger'NEW YORK (AP) — ABC News has released a clip in which Alec Baldwin tells George Stephanopoulos that he did not pull the trigger on a gun that went off on a New Mexico film set, killing a cinematographer. The interview will air as a prime-time special Thursday on ABC and will stream later on Hulu. Baldwin fired a prop gun that had been loaded with live ammunition. The cinematographer was killed and the film's director was injured. It is the first time Baldwin has spoken in depth on screen about the shooting. ABC News says it will do a more in-depth report on the investigation into the killing next week on "20/20."