Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unexpectedly retired Monday amid sexual misconduct allegations from more than a dozen women, the Los Angeles Times reported.
What's the story?
• At least 15 women recently came forward about the 67-year-old judge's alleged behavior in interviews with the Washington Post and on blog posts over the past two weeks.
• According to the accusations, Kozinski's misconduct ranges from showing the women pornography to improperly touching them.
• The allegations led to a formal inquiry by the 9th Circuit to investigate the charges against the judge.
• It's unclear whether the investigation, reassigned to the 2nd Circuit Court, will continue in light of Kozinski's resignation.
What does the judge say?
On Monday in a statement released by Kozinski's attorney, the federal judge said he is honored to have served as a federal judge and is grateful for the opportunities he had since coming to the U.S. as a "refugee from communism" when he was a child.
Kozinski said in the statement:
" ... I've always had a broad sense of humor and a candid way of speaking to both male and female 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."
" ... Family and friends have urged me to stay on, at least long enough to defend myself. But I cannot be an effective judge and simultaneously fight this battle. Nor would such a battle be good for my beloved federal judiciary. And so I making the decision to retire, effective immediately."
Didn't he originally deny the allegations?
Initially, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judge denied wrongdoing.
“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,” Kozinski said in a statement to The Post.
“I don’t remember ever showing pornographic material to my clerks” and, “If this is all they are able to dredge up after 35 years, I am not too worried," he told the LA Times in a statement.
Has he been investigated in the past?
In 2008, the LA Times reported that Kozinski had created a website featuring pornographic images, "which included a photo of naked women on all fours painted to look like cows and a video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal."
Kozinski claimed the server was inadvertently made accessible to the public, according to the LA Times.
The court system "admonished him for carelessness."
Kozinski was born in Romania and came to the U.S. when he was 12. His parents were Holocaust survivors, who settled their family in Los Angeles His father ran a small grocery store there, according to the LA Times.
In 1985, former President Ronald Reagan appointed Kozinski to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Often described as unfiltered, he's known for writing provocative op-eds and not shying away from interviews with the media.
A clerkship with Kozinski at the 9th Circuit courthouse in Pasadena, California, often led to a similar job at the U.S. Supreme Court, the LA Times reported.