Albuquerque councilor accuses former lawmaker of advances

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque City Councilor Lan Sena is accusing a former Democratic state lawmaker of abusing his position of power by making unwanted sexual advances toward her when she served as a campaign staffer in 2019.

Sena this week issued an open letter through an attorney, saying Abbas Akhil needed to be held accountable for his actions.

Akhil’s attorney, Ahmad Assed, told the Albuquerque Journal that the allegations were false and that the former lawmaker would present his defense at an appropriate time and in an appropriate manner.

Akhil recently wrapped up his first and only term in the state House of Representatives, having announced in October 2019 that he would not seek reelection for a district that covers part of southeast Albuquerque.

Sena joined the City Council last March when Mayor Tim Keller appointed her to an open seat.

Sena said in her statement that the incident happened May 16, 2019, when she was Akhil’s campaign treasurer. She also included a statement signed by Akhil seemingly corroborating her version of events. Assed said the signature from his client was “the product of coercion, duress and manipulation,” but he did not elaborate.