Federal Judge May Have Made False Statements in Probe, Order Says

A judicial council order says U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham “may have made false statements” to investigators during a misconduct inquiry.

The order by the Judicial Council of the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it was dismissing misconduct complaints against Nottingham, the chief judge, because of his resignation, 9News.com reports. But the council’s new revelation could be intended for prosecutors so they could consider a perjury prosecution, law professors told the Denver Post.

The council’s order (PDF) said two special committees had investigated allegations that Nottingham had been a client of a prostitution business, misused his cell phone to call prostitutes, viewed pornography on his court computer and lied about it, lied during the investigation, asked a prostitute to lie to federal investigators, and misused his authority in a dispute over a parking place.

University of Denver criminal law professor Justin Marceau told the Denver Post he was struck by the “punitive” tone of the council’s order. “All they had to do was issue an order ending the complaint,” but instead council members spent five pages outlining the allegations and highlighting concerns about the judge’s truthfulness, he said.

Marceau said the council may not have wanted to contact prosecutors because of separation of powers concerns, so it issued an order that is easy for prosecutors to review.

The story by 9News.com says Nottingham is being investigated by the Justice Department and by the ethics body that oversees Colorado lawyers.

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