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KNOXVILLE, Ga. (AP) -- A Georgia judge accused of assaulting an inmate who he said repeatedly cursed at him during a hearing is now facing ethics charges, according to a state judicial agency.

The Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission's investigative panel alleges Crawford County Chief Magistrate Cary Hays III followed the inmate into a hallway after a December 2020 first appearance hearing, then grabbed him and pushed him against a wall while the man was handcuffed and restrained at his feet.

The inmate was not identified.

Hays, who was sworn into office in 2017, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday that he did not injure the inmate "in any way."

"The inmate continued to curse me over and over and over and over again," the newspaper quoted the judge as saying. "At some point, I'd just heard enough of it."

The man began cursing at Hays when the judge set his bond, according to the complaint, which also said the encounter was captured on security camera video.

The complaint noted that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation had an ongoing criminal investigation against Hays.

The commission's hearing panel is set to review the case and decide whether to recommend punishment to the Georgia Supreme Court. That court could then decide to reprimand or remove Hays from office.

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