BRISTOW, Okla. (AP) -- The case against a former Creek County judge accused of exposing himself during court trials again came to a halt Friday when, for the second time, a judge recused himself.
Craig County Associate District Judge Gary Maxey, who had been appointed to hear the case against Donald Thompson and was expected to begin a preliminary hearing Friday, recused himself after Thompson's lawyers raised questions about a conversation the judge had with a potential witness.
Maxey said he recalled a casual conversation with Vinita attorney Duke Logan about the case before he was appointed to hear it, but he could not remember exactly what they discussed. Logan is on the Oklahoma Council on Judicial Complaints, which investigated Thompson.
"I believe I could have maintained my impartiality," Maxey told reporters after stepping down. But he said the Code of Judicial Conduct required that he recuse himself. He also felt that court arguments over the issue would have slowed the case further.
"I wanted the defense to have a fair hearing and did not want to violate the rule on impropriety," he said.