On Monday, it was reported that alleged serial groper Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham had paid her ex-staffer, James Hallinan, an extra $87,500 more after Hallinan alleged the then-candidate for governor poured water over his crotch and then groped him. She expended these funds from her gubernatorial campaign, making her donors fork over the hush money.
The Governor previously gave Hallinan $62,500, making the total amount of the settlement to the alleged groping victim around $150,000.
According to Lujan Grisham’s campaign spokeswoman Kendall Witmer, the payments were part of a settlement that “resolved suspect and varied claims made by Mr. Hallinan, including his search for employment and clients following his tumultuous tenure on the 2018 campaign.”
It is unclear why Lujan Grisham paid the alleged sexual assault victim if she claims Hallinan’s allegations are “suspect.” Traditionally, innocent people do not pay their alleged victims to stay quiet.
“The campaign reached this settlement in 2020 due to the expense of litigating business disputes and to prevent any distraction during the height of the… pandemic,” Witmer said, trying to blame the hundreds of thousands of dollars paid on the Governor focusing on the virus.
“I was focused on the pandemic, and I’ll stand by that decision every minute of every day,” Lujan Grisham claimed during a June news conference, describing the decision to settle.
Lujan Grisham was silent as scandal-ridden alleged serial sexual assailant Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned in disgrace following multiple women coming forward accusing him of misconduct.
But this is not the first time Lujan Grisham has been faced a sexual assault scandal. In 2018, before Lujan Grisham became governor, another man named Eddie Dehart came forward accusing the Governor of similar conduct at a 2005 party, which led to the crumbling of Dehart’s relationship.
“In 2005, we have a party at my girlfriend’s house. It was an artisan party to showcase some art in Santa Fe and help the artists out to sell their products…During the game, it was Michelle’s shot. And she walked around the pool table and walked by me. When she walked by me she grabbed my crotch,” Dehart said in the video. He said that Lujan Grisham exclaimed to his girlfriend that “you have a man here.”
The over $150,000 in payments the Governor made for political silence from Hallinan will likely be a campaign issue as Lujan Grisham tries to cling to power in 2022 despite a record of failure, scandal, and sexual assault payments.