Cory Green, who last week announced his candidacy for Utah’s 1st Congressional District, was charged with four felonies in 2010, court records show. Two of the charges, for alleged forcible sexual abuse, were dismissed, while Green pleaded guilty to the remaining two charges after they were amended down to class A misdemeanors for sexual battery.

Court records also show that Green pleaded no contest in June of this year to two class B misdemeanor charges of attempted unlawful conduct related to allegedly working in private security without a license.

But Green maintained his innocence on both fronts during a Tuesday interview with The Salt Lake Tribune, and said he was effectively coerced into making a guilty plea after being victimized and extorted by a young woman who posed as a massage therapist, and said he has been the target of politically motivated abuses by law enforcement in the ensuing years.

“I ended up taking the plea deal because that was the best option I was given, being backed into a corner by the prosecutor in Davis County,” Green said.

Administrative records from the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, or DOPL, show that Green was issued a license to work as an armed security officer in 2001, and a license to operate a private security company, Statewide Patrol Agency, in 2009.

In 2010, Green’s licenses were suspended — but later reinstated — by DOPL after he was charged by the Davis County attorney’s office. The DOPL records contain a summary of the allegations against Green, including two instances where he paid teen girls for massages. In one event, he was accused of taking two teens to a Motel 6, paid them for a massage, then had an escort perform a sex act in the girls’ presence. Later, he was accused of paying one of the girls for a massage that escalated to a sex act.

Green said that the girl told him she was 23, and that she appeared to him to be older than she was. He compared his experience to the allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was confirmed to the high court by a 50-48 vote of the Senate last year.

“I was victimized in this instance, just like Brett Kavanaugh has been victimized,” Green said. “The only difference is I didn’t have a lot of money to continue playing the game."

Utah Department of Commerce records show that Green was removed as a registered agent of Statewide Patrol Agency in March of 2010, and the business subsequently dissolved in 2011. Green’s court documents do not describe in detail the circumstances behind his plea of no contest in June, but include references to state laws that prohibit unlicensed engagement in a regulated occupation.

Green said the charges stem from an incident in which he was armed and accompanying a security professional. State regulators accused Green of operating without a license, while Green disputes that characterization and accused the DOPL investigators of being biased against him.

“They come up with every little picky pecky thing they can,” Green said, “because I’ve got a target on my head as a conservative.”

In the announcement for his campaign, which has not yet filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, Green describes himself as a security consultant, a constitutional conservative and a supporter of Second Amendment rights and President Donald Trump.

Green’s Twitter account frequently targets DOPL and the state’s business regulations. On Monday, he tweeted an apparently doctored image of Trump with his middle finger raised, saying it was a special message “for the Administrative State cronies at DOPL” who abuse constitutional rights and are “communistic in nature.”

While Green has not held elected office, the 2020 congressional race — in which he hopes to replace outgoing Congressman Rob Bishop — is not his first declaration of political candidacy. In 2018, Green filed to run as a Republican in Utah Senate District 21, but later withdrew from the race.

Green said he expected “moderate mainstream Republicans” to make an issue of his criminal record — he categorized such efforts as slander and malice — but added that he is a transparent person who is not going to “hanky-pank” around the issue.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Green said. “I’m going to continue to run [for Congress] and I have a story that needs to be told.”