The lawyer representing Maggie Strother, the woman who accused Dallas Judge Carlos Cortez of family violence, held a news conference Friday where he said he planned to address comments made by Cortez and his attorneys after the judge was no-billed by the grand jury Thursday. Instead, the attorney released recordings of threatening and profane conversations he said are between the judge and woman.
From his office in Dallas, attorney Ted Steinke said he would not address the grand jury no-billing Cortez, saying that the DA said the case was closed. Steinke also didn't directly address any comments supposedly made by the judge and his attorneys and instead said he wanted to play a series of recordings that allegedly took place between the judge and Strother.
"If Judge Cortez and his attorneys had accepted the no-bill, told the public they were grateful for the outcome and left well-enough alone we wouldn't be here. But instead, they did press interviews yesterday and trashed Maggie Strother for doing what the police and the DA begs abuse victims to do: Report it and stop taking the abuse," Steinke said Friday. "After I saw and read those comments, I could not stay silent."
Steinke went on to claim his client endured months of physical and verbal abuse during her 13-month relationship with Cortez and, though she kept going back to him, made recordings of phone conversations between the two.
He then played segments of obscenity-laced and threatening conversations that he said were between the judge and Strother.
Steinke said there are hours and hours of recordings, all of which were turned over to the Dallas County District Attorney's Office at the beginning of the investigation.
"They are embarrassing to Maggie, but she wants the public to hear them," Steinke said.
As the news conference came to a close, Steinke said that in one of the recordings the man admits to abusing the woman.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Cortez's lawyer, Pete Schulte, was at Friday's news conference and said Steinke's statments were "nothing new."
"Every relationship has arguments and that is what is going on here," Schulte said of the recording to the Dallas Morning News. He added that Cortez never abused Strother and that it was time for everyone to move on.
Strother did not make any statements during Friday's news conference.
Dallas Police Release Statement After Judge No-Billed on Violence Charge
Earlier in the afternoon Friday, the Dallas Police Department said there was ample evidence of probable cause for the case to be presented to the grand jury and that "evidence of the victim's injuries as well as witness statements supported her allegation that she had been assaulted by Judge Cortez."
The department said detectives from the Domestic Violence Unit contacted and interviewed the woman after Cortez's arrest. The department said Cortez was contacted by detectives, but refused to cooperate with the investigation.
In their statement Friday, the Dallas Police Department said the following:
"The completed case was reviewed by attorneys from the Dallas County District Attorney's office and was presented to the grand jury without the investigating detective being present at the hearing.
The Department was not made aware of the existence of any cellphone video taken by Judge Cortez of the victim on November 11, 2013 until the media reported its existence after the grand jury had met on February 20, 2014."
On Thursday, the Dallas County District Attorney's office said a Dallas County grand jury said the evidence presented did not support the charge and declined to indict the judge.
In a motion filed Dec. 30, 2013, Cortez said his girlfriend was trying to kill herself and he tried to pull her away from the balcony and asked a judge to throw out an emergency protective order granted against him on Dec. 29.
Should the grand jury have chosen to indict Cortez on the charge, he would have faced up to 10 years in prison for the third-degree felony if convicted.
Cortez has presided over the 44th State Civil District Court in Dallas County since 2006. Earlier this year, Cortez, a Democrat, filed for re-election in the 2014 race, according to the TCJL PAC.