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Former high-ranking Democratic legislator in New Mexico pleads not guilty in federal fraud case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A former high-ranking Democratic legislator in New Mexico has pleaded not guilty to numerous federal charges stemming from a corruption investigation. Sheryl Williams Stapleton entered her plea Tuesday during an initial court appearance in Albuquerque. She is accused of diverting millions of dollars meant for vocational education in the state’s largest school district to businesses and charities in which she had an interest. A grand jury indicted Williams Stapleton in March on charges that include bribery, mail fraud and money laundering. A former state House majority leader, Williams Stapleton also is facing state charges that include money laundering and racketeering.

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