ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The woman who accused Albuquerque's top criminal judge of rape did not report the assault and might have been trying to extort the judge by videotaping one of their encounters, authorities said.
Meantime, the state Judicial Standards Commission on Wednesday sought to suspend state District Judge Pat Murdoch, 57, without pay pending the outcome of the criminal prosecution and its own disciplinary investigation. A hearing is scheduled next Wednesday before the state Supreme Court.
Lawyers representing Murdoch said they were confident the judge will be vindicated.
"We believe that our client, Judge Murdoch, is the victim in this case," attorney Nancy Hollander told reporters following Murdoch's initial court appearance Thursday afternoon.
His defense team has filed a motion to have the case against him tossed out.
Attorney Ahmad Assed, in a statement to the press, also said Murdoch is taking a leave of absence to ensure the allegations don't distract from court cases.
Albuquerque police Vice Sgt. Matt Thompson told the Albuquerque Journal he believes the case against Murdoch is credible, although police are investigating the possibility the woman was trying to extort the judge and could face charges herself.
The 23-year-old woman acknowledges being a prostitute who is in Albuquerque temporarily.
In a criminal complaint, she told police the judge paid her about $200 for sex eight times. Police said the woman did not report the assault and might have been trying to extort Murdoch with a video of one of their encounters. She talked to police after an undercover officer heard about the video recording and purchased a DVD of it for $400.
The woman told police the judge solicited her on a prostitution website. She said he forced himself on her during one visit, and she returned and secretly recorded a second forced encounter.