MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — A former candidate for judge in Muskegon County who was charged with beating his girlfriend said he did not intend to hit her but did mean to scare her with a belt when he swung it.

In Zoom court on Wednesday, Jason Kolkema, a 51-year-old attorney, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge as a result of a plea agreement. Prosecutors say witnesses recorded him in mid-August as he allegedly physically abused his girlfriend.

During the hearing, Kolkema said he “swung a belt in her presence,” but did not mean to hit her.

“I would say it was unintentional. I think when she raised her arm, essentially, the belt was out of range, but when she moved her arm up, protecting herself, that made contact with her.”

When asked if he swung the belt meaning to scare his girlfriend into thinking she may be struck, Kolkema admitted he did.

“Yes, I believe that a reasonable person would, the swinging of the belt would cause some sort of fear,” said Kolkema.

Kolkema’s girlfriend has defended him, saying he was hitting the chair she was sitting on, not her.

The judge said his plea would be taken under advisement and that there would be no conviction on Kolkema’s record. If he completes everything that he is supposed to during the probationary period, the case will ultimately be dismissed.