During the final October 19 televised debate on Channel 4 between incumbent Mayor Tim Keller, Sheriff Manny Gonzales and radio Talk Show host Eddy Aragon, the candidates were allowed to ask questions of each other. The moderators were not told what the questions would be from the candidates. Sheriff Manny Gonzales asked his question of Mayor Tim Keller.
Following is the transcript of the exchange:
SHERIFF GONZALES: Mayor Keller, Where is your accountability? There are serious misconduct allegations at City Hall under your watch, allegations of your own domestic violence incident being covered up by high ranking city officials. Another allegation of a high ranking city official who was driving drunk and was involved driving a city vehicle and involved in a crash. And the third is also you having allegations of having an affair with a city subordinate. How can the public trust you to fight crime in ABQ when you can’t even fight crime at City Hall?
MAYOR KELLR: What a disgusting prepared question you just read. . . I don’t even know where to begin. . . I have never been involved in any of the incidents you mentioned and as my family will attest to have never, ever done things like had an affair. Look, if you’re going to just make your questions the gossip on Twitter and Facebook. I mean, I hear all sorts of stuff about everyone all the time, I don’t dignify it because I don’t believe it because there’s no evidence or truth behind any of it. And this is coming from a guy who has a litany of myths and mistruths that he says. . .
There is literally nothing behind anything your saying. You’re just saying words you saw on social media. . There was something in there about a co-worker and you know that’s defamation and you should know that, Sheriff. You can have a debate. We can talk about policies but unless you have any shred of evidence of any kind then that is actually to be on you. Talk about accountability. Fraud in your own campaign. Literally. And now just blatantly defaming people for a political stunt so that you can raise money off of it which is what you just asked voters to do. It’s pathetic.
SHERIFF GONZALES: All I asked was a simple question. A yes or no answer if you could. How could the public trust you fighting crime when you can’t even fight crime at City Hall. That was my question.
RADIO TALK SHOW HOST EDDY GONZALES: “Real life TV drama here.”
The link to the full Channel 4 debate is here:
ALBQUERQUE JOURNAL COVERAGE
On Wednesday, October 20, the Albuquerque Journal reported the exchange in part as follows:
“Rumors have swirled for months on social media about police covering up a domestic violence response at Keller’s home and about an alleged affair Keller is having with a city employee.
Keller has previously denied the allegations in an interview with Journal reporters. A Journal public records request earlier this year seeking police incident reports and dispatch records for Keller’s home address since Jan. 1 yielded only a few calls around Jan. 6 – the date of the U.S. Capitol insurrection – in which there were reported threats to the home. Records show officers kept watch throughout their shift and found the home was secure. There were no other records.
People who have raised the allegations with the Journal have provided no proof. At the time the rumors surfaced, the police union president [Shaun Willoughby] – who has been critical of the Keller administration – told the Journal he had no documents to substantiate them.”
After Tuesday’s debate, Gonzales’ campaign manager Shannan Calland said in a statement:
“We have spoken to two high-ranking members of the Albuquerque Police Department with direct knowledge of the domestic incident stemming from the sexual harassment scandal and are awaiting IPRA responses based on that information (which we expect to be intentionally covered up until after election),” she wrote. The statement included the phrase in parentheses. IPRA refers to the state’s … [Inspection of Public Records Act].”
You can read the entire Journal article quoted here:
COMMENTRY AND ANALYSIS
Live political debates, especially those on TV, are in the courtroom of public opinion. There is an old saying amongst experienced trial attorneys, especially prosecutors:
“Never, ever, ask a question of a witness on the witness stand one you do not already know the answer to. ”
The rational for the saying is that you need to know your case completely and want to be able to impeach and discredit the witness with proof they are lying if they do not tell the truth when they testify.
Sheriff Gonzales needs to identify the two high-ranking members of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) with direct knowledge of the domestic incident he is alleging and the affair. If not, Gonzales needs to apologize to Mayor Keller and consider withdrawing from the race. As a law enforcement official, he is held to a higher standard and knows damn well that he is accusing Keller of a crime, and to make such a charge without proof is libelous.
Notwithstanding, it is not at all likely that this stunt will cost Gonzales any votes in that those who support him, like Trump supporters, will not change their minds about him. Mayor Keller’s and Eddy’s Aragon’s supporters will be embolden to vote.
Sheriff Manny Gonzales has likely already lost his case to becoming the next Mayor of Albuquerque. He has also damaged his own personal reputation of honesty and integrity, what little he had left after the forgery to public finance debacle, but he got way too personal and asked a salacious question that he ostensibly thought he had the answer to and based on gossip and innuendo.