A federal judge has dealt a potential setback to the defense strategy of Gov. Susana Martinez's former campaign manager who's charged with hijacking the campaign's email system after Martinez took office.
District Judge William Johnson on Thursday denied requests by Jamie Estrada's attorneys to force the prosecution to provide information regarding the Martinez administration's awarding of a lease that allowed a larger casino at the state fairgrounds.
The judge said Estrada's request involved "largely irrelevant material."
Estrada's lawyers contend Martinez pressed for the investigation of Estrada and the hijacked email to deflect attention from possible misconduct in the fairgrounds casino deal.
The judge called it "absurd" that Martinez had any control over federal charges against Estrada.
Estrada lawyer Zachary Ives didn't immediately respond to telephone and email requests for comment.
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