Weeks before a scheduled election fraud trial for Laura Seeds, the embattled wife of an Española city councilor, her attorney is seeking to withdraw from the case.
Attorney Aaron Wolf says in a court filing Seeds has failed to live up to her obligations “as set forth in the fee agreement between counsel and defendant.”
However, Assistant Attorney General Peter Valencia is objecting to Wolf’s request, saying in his response that with the case set to go to trial Oct. 30, any attorney that might take over at this point “will likely be unable to adequately prepare for trial.”
Wolf has been defending Seeds against more than a dozen felony charges stemming from accusations that she committed voter and election fraud during the 2016 municipal election that her husband, Robert Seeds, won by two votes.
State District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer is scheduled to consider Wolf’s request next week.
Reached by phone Thursday, Laura Seeds declined to comment, saying “I don’t want to speak to anything,” but adding she had paid Wolf “a lot of money” and “they are supposed to withdraw that motion.”
Robert Seeds, who lost a 2018 bid for mayor of Española but still holds the District 4 council seat, did not respond to an email Thursday. His wife said he did want to make a comment.
Wolf also did not respond to a message seeking comment.
Laura Seeds is charged with 15 felonies, including 10 counts of unlawful possession of absentee ballots, falsifying election documents, conspiracy to violate the municipal election code and making false statements relative to the municipal election code, committing intimidation in a municipal election and coercion of a voter. She also faces a petty misdemeanor charge of disturbing a polling place.
Robert Seeds was elected to the Española council over incumbent Cory Lewis by a vote of 238-236. Seeds received 94 votes by absentee ballot while Lewis received 10 votes by absentee ballot.
Lewis filed a voter fraud complaint in state District Court, alleging that the signatures on nearly two dozen absentee ballots did not match the signatures on voter registration cards and that Seeds’ supporters had stolen the election by submitting fraudulent absentee ballots.
The late District Judge Sarah Singleton ruled that the evidence presented did not support Lewis’ allegations.
But New Mexico State Police had opened a criminal investigation into Laura Seeds and her husband’s former campaign assistant, Dyon Herrera, after Española City Clerk Anna Squires wrote a letter to the Secretary of State’s Office while the election was still pending in which the clerk expressed concerns about irregularities with signatures on absentee ballots delivered by Laura Seeds and Herrera.
In February 2018, the Attorney General’s Office filed charges against Seeds and Herrera.
Herrera is charged with two counts of falsifying election documents, conspiracy to violate the municipal election code and making false statements relative to the municipal election code.
Though court records indicate the two cases are joined for purposes of trial, Herrera is represented by attorney Yvonne Kathleen Quintana, who did not respond to a call seeking comment late Thursday.