Rep. Lujan Grisham Gets Restraining Order Against Former Intern

New Mexico Dem ‘fearful’ of fired intern, who says she was discriminated against because she is transgender

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., obtained a restraining order against a former intern in her office on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., obtained a restraining order against a former intern in her office on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted March 21, 2018 at 9:45am

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham obtained a restraining order Tuesday against a former intern who worked for her on Capitol Hill.

Lujan Grisham, who is vacating her seat in New Mexico’s 1st District to run for governor, said she was “fearful” of former intern Riley Del Rey, and said in court documents that she “believes Ms. Del Rey intends to cause her serious harm or her behavior will harm other people in public settings,” the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Del Rey, who is transgender, believes she was discriminated against in 2015 for her gender identity and subsequently fired from her internship through the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Lujan Grisham’s office. Del Rey was fired for poor work performance, the institute, which places interns in congressional offices, told the Journal in 2017. The former intern filed a discrimination complaint with the Office of Compliance and is currently in mediation with the congresswoman’s office.

The restraining order stems from two of Lujan Grisham’s campaign events that Del Rey protested and was escorted from.

At the Democratic pre-primary convention on March 10 in Albuquerque, Del Rey was arrested after interrupting Lujan Grisham’s speech. Officials charged her with disturbing the peace and “possible assault.” Del Rey spent a night in jail.

Lujan Grisham’s complaint for the restraining order also alleges Del Rey “barged into a room” and “disrupted” an event where she was speaking in Santa Fe on Feb. 11, the Journal reported.

The court based its ruling to grant the restraining order on evidence of “escalating threatening behavior toward Rep. Lujan Grisham and those around her,” a spokesman for the congresswoman told the Journal.

Del Rey denied she has threatened anyone beyond political protest.

“I’ve never done anything but voice my political dissidence against her and disrupt her speeches,” Del Rey told the Journal by phone Tuesday. “My protests have been disruptive, but they’ve never placed her in harm other than hurt feelings and disagreement. There has never been any threat of physical harm.”

The restraining order lasts for 10 days and requires Del Rey to stay at least 100 yards away from the congresswoman.

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