When interviewed by police, the alleged victim said Murdoch had solicited her on a prostitution website. She said she met with the judge about eight times and charged him $200 per visit. During one encounter, she claimed he used force to perform oral sex on her against her will. She then began secretly recording their liaisons and caught a second forcible oral sex rape on video.
The victim asked Murdoch what he would do if someone made allegations against him, and he reportedly said he would “use the police and his connections to take care of the situation,” according to a police affidavit.
Murdoch posted $50,000 bond after his arrest and police said he was cooperating in the investigation. His attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the charges, arguing that the indictment failed to allege the essential elements required for 4th degree criminal sexual penetration and intimidation of a witness.
“We believe our client, Judge Murdoch, is a victim in this case,” stated defense attorney Nancy Hollander.
Murdoch is known as a well-respected judge who has presided over several high-profile cases, including a fraud case involving former New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron. In 2010, he presided over a case involving a prostitution ring in which he suppressed the ring’s client list. He sentenced an Albuquerque man to 20 years in prison for promoting prostitution, racketeering and extortion. He had served on the bench 26 years.
The prostitute allegedly raped by Murdoch also accused the judge of having child pornography on his home computer. Murdoch retired effective July 29, 2011 as part of an agreement with the New Mexico Supreme Court, in lieu of disciplinary action. He agreed to never run for judicial office or accept a judicial appointment in the state.
Murdoch’s arrest came on the heels of Governor Susana Martinez’s call for attorneys and state judges to bolster public confidence in the judiciary following a scandal in which Las Cruces District Judge Michael Murphy allegedly told an aspiring judicial candidate that she had to pay a Democratic activist if she wanted an opportunity to be selected as a judge by former Governor Bill Richardson. Murphy, who resigned from the bench in February 2012, currently faces felony bribery charges, while Richardson has denied any involvement in the bribery scheme.
Sources: Associated Press, www.abcnews.go.com, www.abovethelaw.com, www.kob.com
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