Man who made secret recording of Gov’s chief of staff comes forth
Print This Post
It’s been a big question surrounding the secretly recorded conversation between Gov. Susana Martinez’ chief of staff, Keith Gardner, and Brian Powell:
What kind of friend records a discussion with another friend without letting them know?
On Friday (Sept. 7), Albuquerque attorney and prominent New Mexico Democrat Sam Bregman sent Capitol Report New Mexico a signed statement from Powell, who writes that the recording was made back in October of 2011 and that he made it because Powell thought Gardner “might be motivated to prevent crucial testimony” in a preliminary hearing involving a sexual abuse case involving Powell’s daughter. Powell doesn’t offer why Gardner would want to do that.
Powell says he gave Bregman permission to use a 24-second excerpt of the 1 hour and 13 minute conversation with Gardner talking about avoiding using e-mails communication. “I felt an obligation to come forward,” Powell writes because of controversy surrounding the use of e-mails by members of the Martinez administration. Bregman played the clip at a news conference earlier this week.Both Powell and Gardner are from Roswell and have been described as friends – at least until this incident.
Gov. Martinez was spitting nails when talking of the Bregman news conference with reporters earlier this week, saying that her detractors will “stoop to anything” and insisting that Gardner’s remarks were taken out of context and that “What was said in reference to the computers had to do with the investigation of those [assault] cases, had nothing to do with our state computers.”
So what is Powell’s relationship to Bregman?
On Thursday afternoon, Capitol Report New Mexico briefly talked to Bregman at his law office in downtown Albuquerque and Bregman confirmed that Powell is a client. When asked about talk that Powell may be pursuing a lawsuit against the state and employing Bregman on his behalf, Bregman said, “I’m not going to comment about what’s been discussed with a client.”
Here’s a copy of the document Bregman sent Capitol Report New Mexico:
Signed Statement Brian Powell
And here’s a response we received from the governor’s office and spokesman Greg Blair:
It is sad and shameless that Sam Bregman would manipulate a client to further his own political ambitions.
The context of the conversation revolves around the facts of one sexual assault case and the impact sexual assault cases have on families. It is undeniable that Keith Gardner describes the sexual assault case in which his relative was a victim on the tape. It is also undeniable that Keith is offering advice and comfort based on his own family’s experience dealing with the trauma of sexual assault.
Regarding emails, it is crystal clear that Keith was discussing obtaining evidence in the sexual assault case, including subsequent threats and inappropriate communications about the sexual assault done through emails and Facebook. Interestingly, Mr. Powell submitted his resume seeking a state job a week after this conversation and he sent that email to Keith Gardner’s official state email, something Bregman now tries to claim Keith said he never used.
Political followers in the state have speculated in recent months that Bregman is considering a run for governor in 2014.