Trials & Litigation

Doctor accused of showing his gun during Zoom court faces contempt hearing

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A Chicago doctor has been ordered to show cause why he shouldn’t be held in contempt for allegedly showing his gun during a video bankruptcy hearing on Zoom.

U.S. District Judge John Kness of the Northern District of Illinois ordered the 71-year-old doctor to show cause in a Nov. 5 order and set a Dec. 14 date for a status hearing.

The Chicago Tribune broke the news but did not name the doctor, citing the ongoing nature of the proceeding. Court records, however, indicated that he is Theodore Sidney Wright Jr.

The hearing happened July 9 before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Janet Baer, she said in an order referring the matter to federal district court.

The hearing took place after Wright’s landlord, Paul Khanna, had applied for relief from an automatic stay in the doctor’s Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.

Khanna’s stay motion alleged that Wright had been evicted from his medical offices, but the doctor drilled new locks, entered the premises and resumed his medical practice. Khanna wanted permission for a new eviction.

During the July 9 hearing, Wright, who was representing himself, wanted to speak, Baer wrote. He said the landlord had threatened him.

“The debtor then showed his concealed-carry permit and his gun, indicating that, as a result of the landlord’s behavior, he carried the weapon with him at all times,” Baer wrote.

Baer said she stopped Wright from speaking and admonished him, telling him that he was not allowed to have a weapon in a court of law.

After the hearing, Baer wrote, she reported the incident “in an attempt to stem any violence that might occur when the landlord tried again to evict the debtor from the premises, as the debtor had clearly indicated that he was carrying the gun to protect himself from the landlord and would do what he believed was necessary to defend himself.”

After the hearing, the landlord filed a motion for contempt.

“Waving a gun around and boasting that it is on your person at all times cannot be dismissed as the product of lack of knowledge of court procedure,” the motion said.

Khanna’s motion described Wright’s Zoom statements about him as “conclusory conspiracy theories claiming that movant had threatened his life, stolen his money, and taken his prescription pads.”

Wright later obtained a lawyer to defend him on the contempt motion. The lawyer, Anthony Klytta of suburban Des Plaines, Illinois, told the Chicago Tribune that the doctor didn’t realize that the Zoom hearing was treated the same as an in-person hearing.

“It’s just a shame that this has happened,” Klytta told the Chicago Tribune. Wright “is a very good man.”

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