A Chicago judge was caught insulting a high profile civil rights lawyer, calling her performance in court ‘nuts’ and insane’ when his inappropriate conversation was picked up on a hot mic during a livestream on Tuesday.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge William Raines was heard making disparaging comments about Jennifer Bonjean, a lawyer who previously defended Bill Cosby, as he chatted with two prosecutors and a public defender.
‘Did you see her going nuts?! Glasses off, fingers through her hair, the phone’s going all over the place, it’s insane,’ the judge said of Bonjean appearance in court defending a client.
‘That was so entertaining,’ Assistant State Attorney Susie Bucaro said.
‘It was entertaining for me,’ the judge chimed back, later saying, ‘Can you imagine waking up next to her every day? Oh my God.’
Cook County Judge William Raines (left) was heard making disparaging comments about Jennifer Bonjean, a high profile civil rights lawyer who previously defended Bill Cosby
After both Bucaro and fellow Assistant State Attorney Anna Sedelmaier laughed, Bucaro replies, ‘there would be a number of things wrong in my life if I was waking up next to her everyday.’
To which Raines said, ‘I couldn’t get a visual on that if you paid me.’
Raines and Bucaro then go on to mock one of Bonjean’s assistants, who they called a ’13-year-old boy dressed up in a suit,’ referring to him as Bonjean’s ‘man-child.’
The judge then shifts gear to paper work before realizing that the court livestream was still rolling.
The livestream has since been taken down, but Criminal Division Acting Presiding Judge Erica Reddick ordered that the video be officially preserved so it could be used in a complaint filed by Bonjean to the Judicial Inquiry Board.
Bonjean read a transcript of the incident to WGN and slammed Raines for his inappropriate comments, adding that the judge was not fit to do his job.
‘He should not be presiding over things as important as criminal court proceeding where people’s lives hang in the balance.’
A full transcript of the incident shows Raines mocking Bonjean with two prosecutors
Bonjean had been in court on behalf of her client, Roosevelt Myles, 57, who she alleges was framed by police and wrongfully convicted of murder in 1996.
Miles, who was released in 2020 and is seeking to be exonerated, told Buzzfeed that he doubts his name would be cleared after learning about the incident.
‘This just shows what we’re up against,’ he said.
His case was the basis of the TV investigative series Reasonable Doubt, which profiled the 1992 murder case that he was convicted of and determined he was likely innocent.
A spokeswoman for Chief Judge Timothy Evans’ office said Raines could not comment on the matter, since it involves a pending case.
A spokeswoman for the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said in a statement that Foxx had spoken to both prosecutors who took part in the conversation.
Their behavior ‘is unacceptable and runs counter to the values of this administration. Their actions reflect poorly on the work of our office and the entire criminal justice system,’ the statement read.
Bonjean confirmed that both assistant state’s attorneys as well as Foxx herself have reached out to apologize, and she accepted their apologies.
She added that the incident underscores a problem in the Cook County criminal court system where prosecutors and public defenders are assigned to handle cases in front of a single judge.
Bonjean claimed the system encourages both parties to try to curry favor with the judge for the sake of their clients or careers, which she said might have caused the prosecutors to join in on the judge’s inappropriate comments.