|"I-I'm sorry, but there is nothing I can do. I was just following Unalaq's orders."|
|— Hotah to Korra.|
As a trusted ally of Unalaq, Judge Hotah was appointed by the chief in 171 AG to be the sole judge in the treason trial against Tonraq, Senna, and Varrick's rebels. He first listened to Unalaq's testimony of the events that had occurred before verifying it with a cross-examination of Korra. However, his curt questioning left no room for the Avatar to further elaborate on the case, thus painting a tainted picture of the events.
During his questioning, Judge Hotah was interrupted several times by Bolin, whom he sternly told to sit down and stay silent. After having heard what he needed from Korra, he retreated to make a decision. When he returned, he condemned all but Senna to death for the crime of treason. As he was leaving, Korra angrily threatened to kill him if he let her father's sentence stand. Unalaq stepped forward, asking him to show mercy on the men and reconsider the sentence. Hotah complied and changed the punishment to life imprisonment.
Later, Hotah was driving away from the city in his Satomobile when he noticed he was being chased by Korra and Naga. In an attempt to escape them, he floored the gas pedal, but Naga caught up with him and caused him to lose control of his vehicle. After he was forcefully pulled from the car by Korra, he demanded to know the reason for her actions. He cowered slightly away from the angrily growling polar bear dog, as Korra demanded he release her father from prison. The judge explained to Korra that he could not do that as he was merely following Unalaq's orders. Realizing he had already said too much, he attempted to remain quiet, but when Korra terrorized him further by positioning his head between Naga's teeth, his resistance broke down and he confided to her that he had been a corrupt judge for years and that the entire trial had been staged. He revealed that his job was to make it look as if Tonraq and the others had been tried fairly and that he found Senna innocent and lessened the degree of the others' punishment only to keep Korra on Unalaq's side while still eliminating Tonraq as an obstacle. He continued by accidentally blurting out the fact that Unalaq was responsible for Tonraq's banishment twenty years prior. After he had told Korra everything she wanted to know, she took off to free her father and confront her uncle.
Hotah displayed cowardice and corruption in situations pertaining to his professional affairs. Easily manipulated, Hotah bent to the will of Unalaq for years by his compliance with staged and biased court rulings. In the end, he even betrayed this trust under fear of death, showing further lack of commitment to his profession and disregard for the intents of the court system.
The Legend of Korra
Book Two: Spirits (神靈)
- 204. "Civil Wars, Part 2"