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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Federal judge abruptly retires due to sexual harassment allegations

At least 15 women have accused Judge Alex Kozinski of sexual misconduct.

Serving on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Alex Kozinski announced on Monday that he will immediately retire after at least 15 women accused him of sexual misconduct. Although the federal judge issued a formal apology to his accusers, Kozinski failed to directly address the allegations of groping and improper touching.

Appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1985, Kozinski has served on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for 32 years. Born in Romania, Kozinski moved to the U.S. at the age of 12 with his parents, who were Holocaust survivors.

In 2008, Kozinski was caught operating a private server containing pornographic images that could be viewed by the public. After blaming his son for maintaining the website, Kozinski was reprimanded for damaging the reputation of the judiciary.

Last week, The Washington Post reported that six women have accused Kozinski of sexual harassment and misconduct. The next day, nine more women came forward accusing the judge of sexual misconduct ranging from inappropriate comments to improper touching and groping without consent.

A former law clerk, who is now a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, recalled Kozinski suggesting to colleagues that she exercise naked. Other women accused Kozinski of showing pornography to female clerks, keeping a chart of his sexual conquests from college, and groping a former law student’s breast.

Shortly after the current chief judge of the court began a misconduct inquiry, Kozinski issued a formal apology to his accusers on Monday. Despite the fact that federal judges have lifetime terms, Kozinski announced his abrupt retirement on Monday.

“I cannot be an effective judge and simultaneously fight this battle,” Kozinski said in a statement distributed by the 9th Circuit on Monday. “Nor would such a battle be good for my beloved federal judiciary.”

Without addressing the allegations of improper touching, Kozinski added, “I’ve always had a broad sense of humor and a candid way of speaking to both male and female law clerks alike.

“In doing so, I may not have been mindful enough of the special challenges and pressures that women face in the workplace. It grieves me to learn that I caused any of my clerks to feel uncomfortable; this was never my intent. For this I sincerely apologize.”

Kozinski’s successor will be appointed by President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly been accused of sexual assault and has been sued for sexually harassing several women. Trump is notorious for attempting to appoint incompetent federal judges who failed to answer basic legal questions while appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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