Judge made ‘sexist and offensive’ comments about me, says attorney after remarks were caught on livestream

Cook County Judge William Raines | YouTube

“Can you imagine waking up next to her every day? Oh my God!” Judge William Raines allegedly said of attorney Jennifer Bonjean in a conversation he did not know was being recorded.

A defense attorney said she will file a complaint with the state’s Judicial Inquiry Board over comments a Cook County judge allegedly made about her that were captured on a courtroom broadcast earlier this week.

Following his court call Tuesday, Judge William Raines engaged in a conversation with two assistant state’s attorneys and an assistant public defender in his courtroom that attorney Jennifer Bonjean called “sexist and offensive.”

“Can you imagine waking up next to her every day? Oh my God!” Raines said of Bonjean, according to a transcript of the conversation the defense attorney included in a motion to preserve video of the conversation.

“I couldn’t have a visual on that if you paid me. So, there you have it,” Raines allegedly added.

The judge and prosecutors also made inappropriate comments about Bonjean’s assistant, according to the motion.

Raines apparently didn’t know the conversation was being recorded and streamed live on YouTube, according to the transcript.

“Ohh, wait … Media streaming live on YouTube? What’s up with this?,” the judge allegedly said before the stream was ended.

Bonjean is a New York-based attorney who has represented a host of high-profile clients, including actor Bill Cosby, whose sexual assault conviction she was able to have overturned last year.

She had appeared before Raines on behalf of her client, Roosevelt Myles, who is seeking to have his 1996 murder conviction thrown out. She had left the call before the comments were made, and was later alerted to them by a “good Samaritan” who overheard the exchange.

Bonjean’s paralegal, who had earlier opened a YouTube livestream of the courtroom’s proceedings, was able to go back in the stream and make a transcript of the off-the-record conversation, Bonjean said.

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Presiding Judge Erica Reddick approved Bonjean’s emergency motion to preserve the video Thursday and reassigned the case to Judge Carol Howard, court records show.

Attorney Jennifer Bonjean, seen in 2018, has represented several high-profile clients in Chicago and nationally.

Bonjean said she was hurt that the two female assistant state’s attorneys had participated in the conversation, but added that she believed the “power dynamics” between the woman and the judge may have made them feel they couldn’t say anything.

In a statement Thursday, a spokeswoman for the state’s attorney’s office called the assistant state’s attorney’s comments “unacceptable.”

“Their actions reflect poorly on the work of our office and the entire criminal justice system. State’s Attorney [Kim] Foxx has spoken directly with both ASAs and as a personnel matter, this will be addressed appropriately,” according to the statement.

Bonjean said she intended to file a complaint over the judge’s comments with the Judicial Inquiry Board, which …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times

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