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Okla. Judge Admits ‘Wetback’ Comment, But Denies Calling Workers ‘Filthy Animals’

Posted Jan 7, 2011 8:02 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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An Oklahoma judge admits he referred to Mexican roofers as “wetbacks” in a moment of anger over a shoddy construction job, but he’s denying allegations that he called the workers “nothing but filthy animals.”

Lawyers for a white pharmacist charged with the murder of a masked robber are trying to oust Judge Ray Elliott of Oklahoma County from the case. They claim the judge is so prejudiced against Hispanics that he can’t be fair to anyone, NewsOK reports.

The lawyers have asked another judge to disqualify Elliott, and they’re supporting the request with an affidavit from criminal defense lawyer Michael Johnson, the story says. Johnson said he asked Elliott about hail damage to his home during a conversation outside the judge’s office in August, spurring the judge’s roofing complaint. The judge allegedly said he learned the workers were illegal immigrants and called them “nothing but filthy animals.”

According to Johnson’s affidavit, Elliott said the roofers “deserve to all be taken south of the border with a shotgun to their heads” and “if they needed volunteers that he would be first in line.”

Elliott denies he is racist and denies making the statements, the story says. District Attorney David Prater supports the judge, saying he checked with the judge's bailiff and court reporter, as well as with other prosecutors, and no one heard Elliott make such comments.

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