Judge William Adams
Read the Three-page letter sent via Adams' lawyer

ROCKPORT — Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams spoke out through his lawyer today, questioning his daughter's motives for releasing a video that amassed millions of hits on YouTube, sparked a national debate about child discipline, and thrust his family's personal turmoil into public scrutiny.

Hillary Adams, 23, posted a video on Oct. 27 of her enduring a nearly eight-minute belt-lashing at the hands of her father and mother in 2004, when she was 16. She has since told a national audience that she revealed the video in hopes of driving her father to seek help.

Judge Adams' lawyer, William Dudley, said in a written statement that Hillary Adams' answers in response to questions about the timing of her decision to share the video "have been confusing and hollow ... Very few people find palatable her claim that it was to 'help' her father." Just before the YouTube upload, Judge Adams told his daughter he was unwilling to continue supporting her financially because the young piano prodigy wasn't living up to her potential, instead dropping out of school and working part time at a video game store.

"Hillary warned her father if he reduced her financial support and took away her Mercedes automobile, which her father had provided, he would live to regret it," Dudley said. "The post was then uploaded."

The lawyer also suggested Hillary Adams played up her disability, a form of cerebral palsy, to gain public sympathy, when in reality she is a "highly functional adult."

And he doubted whether Hillary Adams had considered her younger sister before going public with the family's turmoil, "subjecting the entire family to worldwide microscopic scrutiny and permanent consequences," Dudley said.

He said the judge regrets the interruption and inconvenience the situation has caused the Aransas County community and expressed confidence that the situation will be settled through the justice system.

"Judge Adams is confident that when the dust settles and international media attention has passed, and the work ahead, whether civil, criminal, or administrative, has taken its full course and has been fully developed, with an opportunity for all sides to ask and answer relevant questions, it will be concluded that Hillary Adams' actions in 2011 were misguided and misleading."

The statement's release followed Hillary Adams' appearance this morning on NBC's "Today" show, alongside her mother, Hallie Adams.

Hillary Adams said she and her mother suffered years of abuse at the hands of her father.

"It did happen regularly for a period of time, and I could tell because of the pattern that things were escalating again" in 2004, Hillary Adams told interviewer Matt Lauer.

So she covered the camera's red light with a scarf and waited. About 30 minutes later, the beating began, she said.

Until now, Judge Adams had refrained from public statements since the video went viral Wednesday, except to say he was disciplining his daughter, then 16, for illegally downloading games and music to her computer, and that the video is "not as bad as it looks."

Hillary Adams, told Lauer she decided to share it after seven years because the abuse continued, she recently told her father about the video, and he brushed her off.

"It wasn't any huge happening or anything" that prompted her to post the video, she said. "I told him I had the video. He didn't seem to think anything of it, and basically dared me to post it."

But Hallie Adams, who took part in the belt-whipping in the nearly eight-minute video, acknowledged that its release comes as Judge Adams seeks to regain custody of their 10-year-old daughter. The couple divorced in 2007 after nearly 22 years of marriage.

Hallie Adams said her ex-husband brainwashed her, telling her what to do and say, and that her participation in the whipping was due to the control he had over her. She and her daughter have since reconciled.

A series of abusive and harassing texts and emails from Judge Adams continued recently, Hallie Adams said.

"I was cutting off talking to him. He's filed to take my younger daughter away from me."

Hallie Adams also revealed that the family has suffered from addiction and dysfunction though she didn't elaborate.

Police are investigating the video but have not filed charges against Judge Adams. Hillary and Hallie Adams have not said they want to file criminal charges, but say they hope the attention will prompt Judge Adams to seek professional help.

Meanwhile, the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct also launched an investigation.

County officials said visiting judges will handle Judge Adams' workload until further notice.

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