Austin judge seeks recusal from four cases against cops: ‘politically motivated’

The recusal comes a day after the Travis County District Attorney filed a court notice

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An Austin judge has recused herself in four of 19 cases against police officers facing charges of use-of-force related to protests in May 2020. 

Judge Julie Kocurek filed an order of voluntary recusal Teusday in the cases of officers Joseph Cast, Stanley Vick, Joshua Jackson, and Justin Berry, according to Travis County court records obtained by Fox News. 

Demonstrators face members of the Austin Police Department as they gather in downtown Austin, Texas, on June 4, 2020, to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. 

Demonstrators face members of the Austin Police Department as they gather in downtown Austin, Texas, on June 4, 2020, to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day.  (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The judge’s recusal comes a day after Travis County District Attorney José Garza filed a court notice, alleging that the judge told Assistant District Attorney Dexter Gilford she believed the prosecution against the officers was a "politically motivated campaign" from Garza’s office. 

In mid-February, a Texas grand jury returned 20 indictments against 19 Austin police officers on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon during the May 2020 protests.

INDICTED AUSTIN OFFICER SAYS SOROS-FUNDED DA IS TARGETING POLICE: ‘THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH JUSTICE’

The court filing says Gilford, the Director of the DA’s Civil Rights Division, emailed Kocurek after the indictment to notify her of the "substantial amount of work" ahead for her and her staff. 

In the court document, Gilford recounts how the judge asked him to call her, which he says he did with a colleague present in the room. 

Gilford said the judge told him she "felt betrayed." He said he didn’t believe that the DA’s office had done anything improper. 

Austin police keep watch as demonstrators gather on June 4, 2020, in downtown Austin, Texas, as they protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. 

Austin police keep watch as demonstrators gather on June 4, 2020, in downtown Austin, Texas, as they protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day.  (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Gilford said the judge told him she "enjoyed a good relationship" with law enforcement in Travis County, and believes the cases against the officers, which sprung up in the aftermath of George Floyd’s police custody death, had risen out of a "politically motivated campaign" on behalf of DA Garza. 

Fox News has reached out to Kocurek’s office for comment but did not hear back before publication time. 

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Kocurek told Austin’s KXAN she was recusing herself not out of a bias or prejudice against the state, "but rather to ensure public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary." 

Fox News’ Teny Sahakian contributed to this report