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Qwest CEO Judge Nottingham Resigns Amid Misconduct Probe

Posted Oct 21, 2008 4:23 PM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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Facing multiple misconduct complaints, U.S. District Judge Edward W. Nottingham, chief of the federal court in Colorado, has resigned, effective Oct. 29.

The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals posted a statement (JPG) from 10th Circuit Chief Judge Robert H. Henry on its website confirming that the circuit's judicial council has expanded the proceedings against Nottingham that were first initiated in August 2007.

"At this critical time in the investigation of these multiple complaints of misconduct, Judge Nottingham has stepped down, effective immediately, as chief judge of the district of Colorado, has ceased judicial duties, and has resigned his commission as a United States district judge," Henry said in the statement.

In a prepared statement from Nottingham's lawyer, the judge said he is "deeply remorseful for his actions" and that the resignation is "in the best interest of all concerned," the Rocky Mountain News reports.

The judicial council has, according its statement, interviewed witnesses, considered voluminous documentation, and conducted two hearings. But Henry said there would be no further comment until after Nottingham's resignation is official.

Nottingham oversaw the trial against Qwest Communications Chief Executive Officer Joe Nacchio, who was convicted on insider trading charges. But Nacchio won a new trial in March after the 10th Circuit ruled that Nottingham improperly excluded expert testimony that could have favored the defendant.

But misconduct allegations go beyond Nottingham's handling of cases. As this Associated Press story notes, in January, Sean Harrington, the head of a legal technology firm, filed a complaint that Nottingham allegedly viewed adult websites on his government computer in his chambers.

Nottingham issued a statement saying the reports dealt with "private and personal matters involving human frailties and foibles" and that they became public because of "protracted, bitter divorce proceedings," the AP reports.

Calls for Nottingham's resignation began to intensify after an ex-prostitute alleged the judge asked her to lie about paying her for sex. The sexual nature of the allegations earned him the nickname "Naughty."

Earlier posts from ABAJournal.com:

"Facing New Ethics Complaint by Ex-Prostitute, US Judge May Resign"

"Ex-Qwest CEO Gets New Trial and New Judge"

"Denver Chief U.S. Judge Faces Ethics Probe Over Alleged Links to Prostitutes"

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