Dallas County judge's ex-girlfriend releases recordings of explicit tirades

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on February 21, 2014 at 11:29 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 21 at 11:34 PM

DALLAS -- While assault charges against Dallas County District Judge Carlos Cortez have been dropped, a new drama in his private life began to unfold Friday.

His former girlfriend, Maggie Strother, released audio tapes Friday depicting verbally-abusive tirades using language that one family violence expert calls “concerning.”

Thursday afternoon, Judge Cortez boasted of being cleared of assault charges brought against him by Strother. Friday, Strother and her attorney, Ted Steinke, decided to make public a side of Cortez that they believe the public needs to hear.

Strother said she taped the phone conversations to protect herself, should Cortez's alleged abuse get out of hand.

"I'm going to tell you that some of the words he uses, you are going to have to bleep out," Steinke said.

He then played a three-minute recording of Cortez using language so disturbingly explicit, that only a few short segments could be played during a News 8 broadcast without being totally censored.

We played the same audio and video segment to family violence expert Paige Flink. Her expression as she listened spoke volumes. After a only a few seconds, she said she had heard enough.

Flink said she was disturbed by the language, but familiar with the story line.

"This is all about power and control,” Flink said. “That's what intimate-partner violence is all about -- power and control. And when someone puts you down, they are trying to make themselves have more power."

Cortez's attorney, Pete Schulte, declined to comment about the judge's language in the recordings, saying they were private conversations between arguing adults.

"These recordings were turned over to the DA's office, they were reviewed by the DA's office, the grand jury, I'm sure, reviewed them, and the result was a no-bill," Schulte said.

Flink sees it differently.

"We do expect our judges to have full control of who they are,” Flink said. "And so when you hear the emotion that is wrapped up in all of this, it's concerning."

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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