Fuller context of Cruz’s remarks (the part used in the ad is in bold):
One, they could present to the court that [Robert] Mericle bribed the judges to build the facilities, but had no knowledge, no awareness of the quid pro quo of the ongoing bribes by Powell to wrongfully sentence juveniles. Now, under that interpretation, which is entirely consistent with the facts, and is consistent with how they pleaded it, Mericle would be held liable not for willfully violating the rights of the juveniles, because what Mericle pleaded guilty to, which was paying the judges and then not affirmatively telling the IRS that he was aware the judges had mischaracterized their income for tax purposes. The victim of that crime was the IRS, it was the federal treasury. It wasn’t the kids.
This comes from the arguments Cruz made in court, and the full argument can be heard here, with the relevant quote being around the 4-minute mark.
In an interview earlier today, Cruz addressed his involvement with the Mericle case, saying, “I had absolutely nothing to do with the criminal proceedings in this case. I represented a real estate developer in commercial litigation against an insurance company. That was the sum total of my involvement.”
UPDATE: Read the Cruz campaign’s defense regarding Cruz’s involvement with Mericle here.