New Jersey judge who asked woman about closing her legs to prevent rape is ‘remorseful,’ lawyer says

A New Jersey judge who asked an alleged rape victim if she tried closing her legs to prevent a sexual assault is "remorseful," his lawyer said before the state Supreme Court Tuesday.

Judge John Russo Jr. appeared before the Supreme Court Tuesday for a disciplinary hearing over his comments and other alleged misconduct.

Judge John F. Russo appears for a disciplinary hearing before the New Jersey Supreme Court. 

Judge John F. Russo appears for a disciplinary hearing before the New Jersey Supreme Court.  (Camden Courier-Post via AP)

The woman appeared before Russo in 2016. She was seeking a restraining order against a man she claimed had raped her. According to a transcript of the exchange, when the woman described the alleged rape, Russo asked: "Do you know how to stop somebody from having intercourse with you?"

When the woman suggested running, Russo continued, "Close your legs? Call the police? Did you do any of those things?" Russo also made joking comments to staffers about the exchange after the woman had left the courtroom, according to an ethics committee report. He has said previously that he was seeking more information from that woman and wasn’t trying to humiliate her.

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Russo was put on administrative leave in 2017 and reassigned to a different county court in December. In April, the ethics committee called his conduct "discourteous and inappropriate" and recommended he be suspended for three months without pay.

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His lawyer, Amelia Carolla, told the justices that Russo has "learned his lesson" and he "will not do this again." The Supreme Court will issue a final determination.

Fox News' Danielle Wallace and the Associated Press contributed to this report.