Trump-appointed judge resigns following federal probe into sexual misconduct claims

U.S Senate Committee On The Judiciary/via Reuters

(WASHINGTON) — A federal judge in Alaska resigned Monday after an investigation revealed multiple and repeated instances of sexual misconduct and alleged sexual harassment in his office.

Former Judge Joshua Kindred, who was nominated by former President Donald Trump in 2019 to Alaska’s U.S. District Court and appointed the next year, “created a hostile work environment” that included several lewd comments and texts, and had an inappropriate sexual relationship with one of his law clerks, according to the findings of the probe by the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit.

The Judicial Council said in its report that Kindred, 46, had “no filter as to the topics he would discuss with the clerks.”

“He discussed his past dating life, his romantic preferences, his sex life, the law clerks’ boyfriends and dating lives, his divorce, his interest in and communications with potential romantic or sexual partners, and his disparaging opinions of his colleagues,” the report said.

The investigation, which began in November 2022, collected more than 700 text messages and interviews with several eyewitnesses, revealed several inappropriate comments by Kindred made to staffers that “lacked any connection to the clerks’ legitimate job duties and were often sexual in nature,” according to the report.

The council had asked Kindred to voluntarily resign as part of its probe. However, he may be impeached for his offenses, according to the report.

Kindred has not immediately commented about his resignation or the investigation. ABC News has attempted to reach out.

In one instance, the former judge told a clerk that an assistant U.S. attorney allegedly sent him nude photographs, according to the report.

“Judge Kindred was seeking advice from the clerk about what to do, and she told him ‘I am just a law clerk;’ she reported being ‘devastated,'” the Judicial Council said.

The report also detailed an inappropriate relationship Kindred had with one of his law clerks. The former judge sent hundreds of text messages to the clerk during an 11-month period that had nothing to do with her duties, according to the investigation.

“Judge Kindred also emphasized that this law clerk was an important and special presence in his life by making statements such as, ‘We are ride or die for life;’ ‘you’re legitimately one of my best friends and favorite human beings in the world,'” the report said.

On Oct. 3, 2022, a week after the clerk left Kindred’s office to start a new job as an assistant U.S. attorney, the former clerk met with Kindred for drinks, the report said.

Kindred allegedly later offered to give her a ride home, but said he needed to stop by his chambers. While in his chambers, Kindred allegedly kissed and grabbed her buttocks during the encounter, in which the law clerk “stated that she was intoxicated, and Judge Kindred was also likely intoxicated,” according to the report.

Kindred told investigators that the clerk invited him to drinks and that she was in love with him, according to the report, which also stated that “these denials were belied by documentary evidence and, as revealed later during Judge Kindred’s testimony to the Judicial Council, by Judge Kindred’s own admissions.”

On Oct. 7, 2022, the clerk and Kindred met again at a party, but the clerk left after Kindred kept asking her to sit with him on a couch, according to investigators.

Kindred texted the clerk asking to talk in person and they eventually went to an apartment belonging to the former judge’s friend that he claimed was an Airbnb, the report said.

The clerk claimed that when she arrived in the apartment, Kindred kept shouting to “come to the bedroom,” where he was lying on a bed, according to investigators. Per their report, the clerk told investigators the former judge performed a sex act on her.

Kindred told investigators he and the clerk had a conversation in the apartment but that they were not in bed and there were no sexual interactions, according to the report.

However, a text exchange between Kindred and the clerk had subtle references to a sexual encounter, investigators said.

“Judge Kindred could not provide an explanation for those text messages,” the report said.

“However, he emphasized: ‘I can’t reconcile them, but I’m telling you, we — all we did in that apartment that night was have a conversation. I don’t — I don’t remember the context of this, but I’ve not seen [this law clerk] naked, so that doesn’t make any sense to me. But again, I don’t — I don’t know.'”

According to the report, Kindred later admitted to the encounter during an oral argument in April with the Judicial Council after a special committee released its findings “only when specifically, and at times repeatedly, pressed with record evidence.”

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