Dallas judge speaks out after being cleared of assault charge - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Dallas judge cleared of assault says videos prove his credibility

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The war of words continues to escalate after a Dallas County grand jury declined to indict a Dallas County State District Judge on Thursday who was accused of assaulting his girlfriend.

Judge Carlos Cortez was arrested in December after his 26-year-old girlfriend, Maggie Strother, told officers that Cortez choked her and bent her over the railing of his 20th floor balcony at the Le Tour Condominium building in Dallas.

Cortez was arrested and charged with family violence assault.

Cortez's attorneys, however, said that Cortez was trying to save his girlfriend from killing herself, and that Strother was suicidal and had mixed prescription drugs with alcohol.

Cortez defended himself Thursday night in an exclusive interview with FOX 4, and he and his attorneys, Kevin Brooks and Pete Schulte, said there was surveillance video taken from the building where Strother said she was assaulted.

In that footage, Cortez can be seen talking to Strother the night of his arrest.

Their conversation can't be heard, but Cortez told FOX 4 that in the video, he had asked Strother to leave after she tried to throw herself off the balcony, and she pleaded with him to let her come back to Cortez's apartment.

In another video Cortez recorded in his car while he was driving, Strother can be seen getting out of the car while it was moving. She lands on the ground and asks afterward why Cortez pushed her out. 

Cortez told FOX 4 he shot that video because it was not the first time Strother was drunk and acting out, and said he recorded her to show her how she was acting when she sobered up.

Brooks and Schulte also say a rookie Dallas police officer did not fully investigate the situation.

Strother's attorney responded on Friday afternoon by releasing four audio recordings between Strother and Cortez.

"If Judge Cortez and his attorneys had accepted the no bill, told the public they were grateful for the outcome, we wouldn't be here," said attorney Ted Steinke.

Dallas police on Friday said Cortez didn't cooperate with their investigation, despite being contacted by police.

Police also said they were unaware of the cell phone video that showed Strother throwing herself out of Cortez' car. The first time police heard about the video was after it aired on FOX 4.

Police said senior officers were involved in the arrest and investigation and "there was ample evidence of probable cause" for the case to go to a Grand Jury.

Shortly after Cortez was cleared, Strother's attorney released a statement saying, "We are disappointed with the grand jury's decision, but Maggie stands by her statements, and nothing that happened today changes that one bit. I am proud of Maggie for having the courage to stand up to someone in such a powerful position. And there is a lesson to be learned here: It is important for all abuse victims to stand up to their abusers, even at the risk of being told there is not enough evidence to prosecute."

Cortez said that he's a different man after the experience.

"This has touched every aspect of my life," said Cortez. "Not only my professional career, which has been under attack, but also my personal life. It has affected my family, my friends, but also it is an eye-opening experience. This can be something others can learn from. I would never want this to happen to anyone else, to be falsely accused of something so horrific."

Cortez was elected to the 44th State Civil District Court in 2006 and is up for re-election this year.

His opponent, Bonnie Goldstein, sent FOX 4 a statement reading, "I launched my campaign for this office before this episode occurred. I stand by my strong belief that the citizens of Dallas will be better served by someone who is both qualified and conducts herself with dignity. When I am elected, I will be in the news for the right reasons."

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