NM Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham pays at least $60G in alleged crotch-grabbing settlement: report

New Mexico's top executive has denied the claim

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham paid out at least $62,500 to settle with a former staffer who accused her of grabbing his crotch in 2018, according to reports.

James Hallinan, a former spokesman for Grisham's campaign, accused her of assaulting him at the home of state Rep. Deborah Armstrong during a meeting months before the 2018 election.

The settlement story was first reported by the Albuquerque Journal.

Hallinan claimed Grisham dumped water in his lap and then reached toward his genitals, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. 

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"Governor Lujan Grisham and Mr. Hallinan have resolved any differences or issues to their satisfaction. I am not able to provide any further information," Hallinan's attorney Rachel Berlin Benjamin told Fox News in a statement.

Both Grisham’s office and Armstrong have denied any such event occurred.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham address reporters during a news conference at the Statehouse. (Associated Press)

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham address reporters during a news conference at the Statehouse. (Associated Press)

Grisham and the campaign "strenuously deny that there is any merit or truth to Mr. Hallinan’s claims, including his claims about difficulty finding or keeping work after the campaign," campaign spokesman Jared Leopold told the Albuquerque Journal.

"They reached a settlement in order to avoid the continuing distraction and significant expense of possible litigation and allow them to concentrate on working for the people of New Mexico during this pandemic."

Hallinan said he’d been assaulted in front of Armstrong, Grisham’s campaign adviseer Dominick Cabello and two staffers. The governor’s spokeswoman, Nora Meyers Sackett, said: "We’re a rambunctious bunch. I think they were playing around with water."

Hallinan later tweeted that he’d endured "long, horrific abuse" under Grisham and accused her staff of trying to cover it up. He said he felt as if he’d been "under her thumb." 

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Grisham, a Democrat, has held office since 2019.

Fox News' inquiry to Grisham's office was not returned at the time of publication.

Fox News' Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.