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Trial set for former New Mexico athletic director

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A judge has set a trial date next year for former University of New Mexico athletic director Paul Krebs on embezzlement and other charges.

Krebs left the university in 2017 amid questions over spending. At the heart of the case are accusations that he used public money for a lavish golf trip that he said was meant to strengthen relationships with donors.

Krebs' attorney Paul Kennedy has said he's confident his client will be vindicated at the trial set for October 2020.

An indictment filed in August charges Krebs with embezzlement for using school funds to pay for three people not affiliated with the university to go on the 2015 trip. He's also charged with lesser embezzlement counts, larceny and tampering.

Prosecutors accuse Krebs of bypassing university oversight, deleting records and trying to cover up the spending by reimbursing the university for part of the trip.

The state began an investigation in 2017 after it was discovered the university used nearly $25,000 to pay some private donor expenses on the Scotland trip.

The scandal came as scrutiny intensified over the athletics department's budget. A 2017 special audit of the department and affiliated fundraising groups found a lack of financial controls over public money that resulted in unpaid access to luxury basketball arena suites, overpayments to coaches and donor perks of golf and alcohol that failed to elicit donations.

The department has made a number of changes over the past year that include a decision by university regents to cut four sports, including men's soccer, in an attempt to control spending.

Krebs served as athletic director from 2006 to 2017, when he announced his retirement.