A Tulsa County district judge accused of having sex with a massage parlor employee denied the allegation against him on Friday and said he believes it is an attempt to harm his re-election efforts.
In a Friday afternoon news conference, James Caputo said that learning of the accusation was "the shock of my life," and an Assistant Attorney General came to his chambers and asked for his immediate resignation.
He then compared the controversy swirling around him to the recent allegations against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and he accused the state Attorney General's office of bullying him into leaving the bench if he wanted the allegations to remain secret.
According to a story earlier this week by The Oklahoman,” a witness in an ongoing racketeering case identified the judge as a customer of the massage business.” Caputo said on Friday that the Asst. Attorney General told him a woman who works at an "illicit massage parlor" had named him as a someone with whom she had a sexual encounter.
The judge claimed innocence and said it is no coincidence this surfaced weeks before an election and he believes it is a targeted attack for political reasons.
Caputo currently is seeking re-election in Tulsa and Pawnee Counties, the office he has served since 2011. He is being challenged for re-election by former prosecutor Tracy Priddy in the November general election.
On Friday, he told a room full of journalists that he had never been to an illicit massage parlor in his life and never has engaged in the services of a prostitute.
"[The Assistant Attorney General] refused to name the person... or give any details," Caputo said. "He sought no information from me regarding the accusation and announced that if I did not resign before he departed from my office that the Attorney General was going to proceed to prosecute. He said if I resigned immediately before the Nov. 6 election, no one would know about it. I declined the offer to resign because I know the accusation is entirely false."
Caputo said three weeks ago, a woman reached out to him on Facebook and invited him to meet her at a restaurant. He said she was accompanied briefly by another woman who left before dinner was over. A few days later, he said he was asked to meet with that second woman at a restaurant and "during conversation she announced she saw men for money."
Caputo claims soon after that comment, he left.
"I have no learned those two meetings were an attempt to set me up and both were recorded. The attempted set-up failed," Caputo said.
The judge said when he declined to resign, he became the target of threats and bullying by the people who "leaked these false accusations to the press... the playbook was likely taken from what we saw recently played out on the national scene with the Kavanaugh hearings."
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