Inquiry launched into harassment allegations against U.S. appeals judge

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 14, 2017 8:00 PM

By Dan Levine

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The chief judge of a federal appeals court on Thursday initiated an inquiry into harassment accusations involving another judge that were reported by The Washington Post, a court filing showed.

Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Sidney Thomas asked that allegations against 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski be reviewed by judges in another circuit.

The initiation of a complaint is not a finding of any wrongdoing.

Kozinski declined to comment when reached by Reuters on Thursday.

The Washington Post reported last week that six former law clerks or externs had accused Kozinski of subjecting them to inappropriate sexual conduct or comments.

The newspaper reported that two of the women, one named and the other not, said the judge asked them to view computer images of naked people.

The newspaper quoted Kozinski as saying that in his 35 years as a judge he had employed more than 500 people in his chambers, and had treated all of them as family.

"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 judge was quoted as saying.

In an order on Thursday, Thomas asked that judges from a different part of the country conduct the review, "to ensure confidence in the impartiality of any proceedings."

Thomas said he was issuing his order "consistent with our past practice," noting that "when incidents of alleged misconduct have been reported in an accredited media publication, we have identified a complaint and initiated an inquiry."

(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Sue Horton, Toni Reinhold)