Six Women Accuse 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Federal Judge Based in Pasadena of Sexual Misconduct

Published : Monday, December 11, 2017 | 6:38 AM

Judge_Alex_Kozinski_A prominent federal judge at the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court in Pasadena has been accused by six former clerks and interns of making inappropriate sexual comments to them when they were employees of the court, the Washington Post reported.

One of the former clerks who opted to identify themselves to the Post said Judge Alex Kozinski called her to his Pasadena office a few times to show her pornographic material on his computer and then asked if she thought the material were photoshopped and if it aroused her sexually.

The Post named her as Heidi Bond, who reportedly served as Kozinski’s clerk from 2006 to 2007. At that time, Bond was in her early 30s. She is now 41, the Post said in the report.

“I was in a state of emotional shock, and what I really wanted to do was be as small as possible and make as few movements as possible and to say as little as possible to get out,” Bond told the Post.

She would later work as clerk at the Supreme Court and now works as a romance novelist writing under the name Courtney Milan.

One time, Bond said the judge also showed her a chart he claimed he and his friends from college had made to list the women they had had sexual relations with.

Another clerk who agreed to be identified in the Post report, Emily Murphy, worked for a different judge on the 9th Circuit and is now a law professor.

Murphy told the Post that Kozinski approached her at a reception at a San Francisco hotel in 2012 when she was talking with a group of other clerks. The group was discussing training regimens, and came to the subject of the gym in the 9th Circuit courthouse that was seldom being used.

According to Murphy, Kozinski commented to her that if that were the case, she should work out naked. The others in the group tried to change the subject, but Kozinski kept steering the conversation toward the idea of Murphy exercising without clothes.

“It wasn’t just clear that he was imagining me naked, he was trying to invite other people – my professional colleagues – to do as well,” Murphy told the Post. “That was what was humiliating about it.”

Murphy is now a law professor. She was 30 at the time of the incident and is now 36.

The Post said the other four women were among dozens of Kozinski’s former clerks and externs it spoke to in preparing the article. One former extern said the Kozinksi once made a comment about her hair and looked her body up and down “in a less-than-professional way.” The extern told the Post Kozinski also once talked with her about a female judge stripping.

Another former extern said she had at least two conversations with the judge “that had sexual overtones directed at me.”

One former 9th Circuit clerk said she was at a dinner in Seattle sometime in late 2011 or early 2012, seated next to Kozinski; she said the judge “kind of picked the tablecloth up so that he could see the bottom half of me, my legs.” She said Kozinski remarked, “I wanted to see if you were wearing pants because it’s cold out.”

“It made me uncomfortable, and it didn’t seem appropriate,” the former clerk told the Post. She was working for a different judge at the 9th Circuit Court then.

Reached by the Los Angeles Times on Friday, Kozinski, 67, said he has no recollection of those events the former clerks and externs referred to.

“If this is all they are able to dredge up after 35 years, I am not too worried,” Kozinski said in the Times’ telephone interview.

He did acknowledge that he’s been contacted by many of his former clerks to tell him about the Washington Post report. He said he has had 120 clerks and 400 externs over the years.

Kozinski also issued a statement in response to the Post report:

“I have been a judge for 35 years and during that time have had over 500 employees in my chambers. I treat all of my employees as family and work very closely with most of them. I would never intentionally do anything to offend anyone and it is regrettable that a handful have been offended by something I may have said or done.”

The Los Angeles Times said David Madden, a spokesman for the 9th Circuit, provided them a copy of the statement and referred further questions to a public relations firm in Los Angeles, Winner and Associates.

Kozinski was born in Romania to holocaust survivors and came to the U.S. when he was about 12 years old. He was appointed as a judge by former President Ronald Reagan.

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