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News Every Day |

Now-former Oklahoma judge caught on phone during trial speaks out for the first time

LINCOLN COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) - Now-former Lincoln County Judge Traci Soderstrom spoke out for the first time since she announced her resignation Thursday.

Soderstrom was caught on security footage being on her phone during a June 2023 murder trial. The trial surrounded the beating death of a 2-year-old boy.

"There were some things that I did inappropriately," said Soderstrom on Friday.

She is represented by Tracy Schumacher of the Schumacher Law Group. Soderstrom gathered press Friday to make a statement and answer some questions.

Soderstrom is accused of exchanging more than 500 texts with her bailiff during the murder trial. The Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice alleged that her phone activity included her comparing prosecutors' genitals, messages that mocked other prosecutors and were sprinkled with emojis.

Some of the messages were alleged to have made her seem like she had already made up her mind about the case.

"I texted during a trial. The contents of the allegations I am not agreeing to because it didn't matter," said Soderstrom.

When KFOR asked why she thought a judge making her mind up about a case wouldn't matter she replied, "I never had made up my mind and even if I did it wouldn't matter because I was not the fact finder. The fact finder was the jury. At no time in any case had I made up my mind."

She began Friday's presser by listing and thanking those who have been close to her since the allegations dropped.

"Each of your confidence and unwavering support has been able to get me through to this point, you each are the epitome of unconditional love," said Soderstrom.

Soderstrom was elected in January 2023 and it was six months later that she was caught on camera. Within the weeks and months after the allegations opened up.

On Friday, she made allegations of her own against those who serve within Lincoln County. At one point, she alleged misconduct on the part of Lincoln County Clerk Cyndi Kirby.

"During my tenure as a judge I found a longtime court clerk who takes it upon herself to decide who is qualified to serve as a judge," said Soderstrom. "After I first learned of this startling development the Friday before my first full jury trial I had to spend the weekend scrambling to find a remedy for the legal jeopardy she created for not just my trial but every trial that was set on the docket."

KFOR reached out to Kirby when Soderstrom finished her presser on Friday after 2 p.m., we haven't heard back as of Friday at 6 p.m.

The Oklahoma Court of the Judiciary is still set to begin hearing testimony in Soderstrom's case on Monday.

When asked why she would come out now with the allegations against Kirby or anyone else she said, "They were brought to light while I worked there but the judicial code of conduct prohibits me from discussing things while on the bench. I am no longer subject to the veil of secrecy if you will. These things have been reported before but I just couldn't talk about them and now I can."

When asked if her apologizing for the texts was an admission of guilt she replied, "There were some things that I did inappropriately, I texted during a trial. It doesn't matter if it was a traffic case or it was a divorce case or it was a first-degree murder case. The content and the insinuation, the volume and the length of those things I am not agreeing to because it doesn't matter."

The video had originally been obtained by The Oklahoman and their reporting on the matter. The Oklahoman also found that the Court of the Judiciary has removed seven judges for oppression in office or other misconduct grounds since its creation more than 50 years ago. They report that other judges have resigned rather than go on trial as well.

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