NM judge booked in political bribe scandal

By the Associated Press | May 20, 2011 | 2:58 PM EDT

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico judge charged with bribery in a scandal with alleged ties to former Gov. Bill Richardson pleaded not guilty Friday, then was ordered to hand over his passport.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports state District Judge Michael Murphy was booked, fingerprinted and ordered to post a $10,000 bail Friday following his initial court appearance on felony bribery and intimidation charges. After Murphy pleaded not guilty, a judge asked for his passport, calling him a flight risk.

Murphy is accused of telling a judicial candidate if she wanted a seat on the bench, she needed to donate to the Democratic Party through a political activist tied to Richardson.

Allegations in a prosecutor's report imply the practice was common. An investigation is ongoing.

Richardson calls the accusations "outrageous and defamatory."