Former Democrat governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, has died at 75.
Richardson was also the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and Secretary of Energy in the Bill Clinton administration.
The two-term governor was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing New Mexico’s 3rd district, from 1983 to 1997.
“Governor Richardson passed away peacefully in his sleep last night. He lived his entire life in the service of others — including both his time in government and his subsequent career helping to free people held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad,” Mickey Bergman, vice president of the Richardson Center, said Saturday.
— The Hill (@thehill) September 2, 2023
NBC News reports:
Richardson was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize last month in recognition of his work in saving detained Americans, most recently WNBA player Brittney Griner, who was arrested at a Moscow airport when authorities found hash oil in her luggage. Griner was released last December after having been detained for nearly 10 months.
Over the past three decades, Richardson traveled the world negotiating and securing the release of Americans imprisoned overseas in Bangladesh, North Korea, Sudan, Colombia and Iraq. Richardson traveled to danger zones, including the Congo, then called Zaire in 1997, and Afghanistan in 1998 to broker peaceful power transfers and met with infamous dictators Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro and Kim Jong-il, respectively.
The Richardson Center was created to support the former governor’s work facilitating dialogue and global peace, particularly between countries with strained diplomatic relations. He positioned himself and his nonprofit organization as an alternative to traditional diplomatic channels, particularly for countries adverse to established diplomatic powers.
BREAKING: Former U.N. ambassador and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who dedicated his post-political career to working to free Americans detained overseas, has died. He was 75. https://t.co/OeWpGVjdI1
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 2, 2023
Armed with a golden resume and wealth of experience in foreign and domestic affairs, Richardson ran for the 2008 Democratic nomination for president in hopes of becoming the nation’s first Hispanic president. He dropped out of the race after fourth place finishes in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.
Richardson was the nation’s only Hispanic governor during his two terms. He described being governor as “the best job I ever had.”
“It’s the most fun. You can get the most done. You set the agenda,” Richardson said.
As governor, Richardson signed legislation in 2009 that repealed the death penalty. He called it the “most difficult decision in my political life” because he previously had supported capital punishment.
“Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who had been accused of involvement in a pay-for-play bribery scheme and had ties to Jeffrey Epstein, passed away at 75,” investigative journalist Kanekoa The Great said.
“Richardson faced scrutiny for receiving $50,000 in campaign contributions from Epstein during his gubernatorial reelection campaigns in 2002 and 2006. However, the association between Richardson and Epstein went beyond financial donations, as they had a longstanding relationship,” he added.
“The former governor, who also held positions as DNC chairman and presidential candidate, in addition to serving as President Clinton’s Energy Secretary and UN Ambassador in the late ’90s, was reportedly a guest of honor at Jeffrey Epstein’s 8,000-acre Zorro Ranch in Stanley, New Mexico. His name was also included in Epstein’s ‘little black book’ of contacts,” he continued.
Las Cruces Sun News reported in 2019:
Richardson is among the many well-known people listed in Epstein’s so-called “little black book,” containing phone numbers and other contacts, and which has become part of court records. Epstein also donated $50,000 to each of Richardson’s two gubernatorial campaigns, in 2002 and 2006. Richardson re-gifted the 2006 campaign donation to charity as sex-crime accusations against Epstein emerged.
Mahony said that Richardson, to the best of his recollection, went to Epstein’s Zorro Ranch near Stanley just once, in 2002 during his first run for governor, and that his wife, Barbara Richardson, went with him. The other people present for a dinner or lunch was a person Richardson understood to be an assistant to Epstein and someone Richardson recalls as an “award-winning scientist,” Mahony said.
“One significant allegation against Richardson came from Virginia Giuffre, an underage victim of Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell’s trafficking operation. In a 2016 deposition, Giuffre claimed that Epstein and Maxwell forced her to engage in intimate relations with Governor Bill Richardson,” Kanekoa The Great wrote.
“The passing of Bill Richardson underscores the unresolved questions surrounding Epstein and Maxwell and their implications for the broader issue of child trafficking and blackmail involving powerful individuals, all while raising corruption concerns about the role of federal law enforcement who have never arrested a single client of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell’s child trafficking ring,” he added.
Las Cruces Sun News noted in 2019:
A woman who says convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein kept her as a teenage sex slave claims in a sworn deposition that a woman who served as the New York financier’s procurer directed her to have sex with Bill Richardson while he was governor of New Mexico.
Epstein died early Saturday from an apparent suicide.
A spokeswoman for Richardson, who has not been charged with any crime, denied Friday that he has ever met Virginia Giuffre, who says in her deposition that she was ordered to provide erotic massages and sex to several powerful men associated with Epstein.
Richardson’s name showed up in a 2016 deposition ordered released Friday by a federal judge as part of a 2,000-page cache of documents in a defamation lawsuit Giuffre filed against Ghislaine Maxwell, a former Epstein girlfriend who has been described as the billionaire’s “madam.”
“In several depositions — excerpts of which were included in the documents unsealed Friday — Giuffre said that Maxwell would send her to have erotic ‘massages’ and sexual encounters with various powerful men,” including Richardson, the Daily Beast reported Friday.
Kanekoa The Great included a video clip where Luke Rudkowski questioned Richardson about his alleged attendance at the Bohemian Grove.
Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who had been accused of involvement in a pay-for-play bribery scheme and had ties to Jeffrey Epstein, passed away at 75.
Richardson faced scrutiny for receiving $50,000 in campaign contributions from Epstein during his gubernatorial… pic.twitter.com/hi9uNWx40I
— KanekoaTheGreat (@KanekoaTheGreat) September 2, 2023