GREELEY — Former House District 50 Rep. Rochelle Galindo, D-Greeley was found not guilty of contributing to a minor in Weld County Court by a jury of three women and three men on Thursday.
Galindo was accused of serving alcohol to a 17-year-old campaign worker during Galindo’s campaign in 2018. She faced up to 18 months in jail had she been convicted.
Galindo, the first Latina lesbian elected to the statehouse from Weld County, resigned on May 12, 2019 after two female minors who worked on her campaign accused the former Greeley City Councilwoman of serving them alcohol and sexually assaulting them in her Greeley apartment. Galindo was facing a recall attempt at the time she stepped down.
Galindo was never formally charged with the alleged assaults; however, she was charged with providing alcohol to a minor, a misdemeanor. She pled not guilty to the charge on March 2, 2020. Although a jury trial was scheduled for the summer of 2020, COVID-19 pushed back cases.
Galindo faced up to 18 months in jail. The prosecution maintained that Galindo offered the teenager alcohol on more than two dozen occasions, and she actually drank on one. The teenager was charged as a minor in possession and Galindo’s campaign manager Fabio Cordeiro was charged with contributing.
Galindo chose to fight her charge in court.
The teenager said that there were generally four people — including the teenager another intern and Galindo’s campaign manager — at Galindo’s apartment when Galindo would offer them alcohol as a way to “hang out” after a day of campaign work. This occurred generally 2-3 times a week between May and September of 2018.
Galindo’s attorneys argued that the teenager filed fraudulent charges against Galindo in retaliation for firing one of the teenager’s relatives — who was one of Galindo’s previous campaign managers — and Cordeiro from a role he held after Galindo was re-elected.
However, the jury was not allowed to hear testimony about previous convictions and issues Galindo had, nor did prosecutor Michael Bailey present rebutting testimony that may have countered accusations about Deb Suniga — the relative in question — who actually quit Galindo’s campaign alleging then that Galindo mistreated her campaign staff.
Galindo has been plagued with issues throughout her political career. In October 2019, questions arose around Galindo reimbursing herself for unclear legal expenses with campaign money. In December 2018, the Colorado GOP accused Galindo of illegal electioneering after she was seen on video within the prohibited distance of a polling place campaigning. After winning an uncontested race for city council in 2015, Galindo spent left- over campaign money on a trip to Las Vegas with an undisclosed companion.
It is unclear what Galindo’s future political plans may hold. She is currently registered to vote in Senate District 34 and House District 4, both seats are currently occupied by Democrats who are not termed out until 2026.
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