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Richard Roberts.Richard Roberts. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/NLJ)

Chief Judge Richard Roberts of Washington’s federal trial court sent a letter of retirement to the White House on Wednesday, the same day a woman in Utah filed a lawsuit accusing him of sexual assault 35 years ago when she was a witness in a case he prosecuted.

In a statement, Roberts’ lawyers said that a consensual “intimate relationship” took place between Roberts and the woman, Terry Mitchell, in 1981, when Mitchell was 16 years old. However, Roberts’ lawyers denied the allegations of sexual assault as “categorically false.”

In Roberts’ letter of retirement to the White House, he wrote that “based upon medical advice, I have become permanently disabled from performing my duties.” He said in the letter that his retirement was effective Wednesday. The letter did not reference Mitchell’s allegations.

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