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Trump-appointed judge forced to resign after sexual harassment investigation

Joshua Kindred, an Alaska federal judge nominated by former President Donald Trump, resigned after an investigation into misconduct allegations against him found he had an inappropriate relationship with a female clerk, lied to investigators and created a hostile environment among staff by making sexually explicit comments in the workplace.

The 46-year-old U.S. district judge was asked in May by the Judicial Council of the 9th Circuit to voluntarily resign. He did so on July 3, submitting a formal letter of resignation to Trump’s successor in the White House, Joe Biden, last week.

The accusations against Kindred date back to 2022 and were compiled in a 32-page court order issued by a special committee appointed to investigate them by Chief District Judge Mary Murguia.

The order was made public Monday, when Kindred’s resignation took effect, and accuses the judge of having an “inappropriate sexual relationship” with an unnamed clerk that continued into her time as an assistant U.S. attorney.

In one incident from October 2022, Kindred allegedly invited her out for a drink, kissed her and grabbed her buttocks just before she finished work at his office.

In the second case, a judge was accused of groping a female official and performing oral sex on her in his colleague’s apartment.

Investigators also determined Kindred received “nude photos” from another, senior federal prosecutor and exchanged “flirtatious” text messages with a third local attorney, the warrant said.

The report also cited investigators’ interviews with law enforcement officials and employees who worked for Kindred, as well as text messages in which he talked about his dating life and made disparaging comments about colleagues.

In addition to the sexual harassment allegations, the order said Kindred “did not hesitate to use language that was inappropriate in a professional context, such as encouraging people to be judged based on their ‘ability to fuck,’ stating that he was ‘ignorant about sluts,’ or telling stories about ‘getting laid in hot tubs.'”

It continues: “On several occasions when officials came to Judge Kindred to discuss his misconduct, they were humiliated or ostracized, and in one case, the official left his position.”

Investigators add that Kindred made false statements during the investigation and otherwise “obstructed, influenced and impeded the course of the investigation.”

“I think my greatest sin was that during that period I treated my trainees as friends rather than as employees,” the judge said at one hearing, downplaying the seriousness of the accusations against him.

“We conclude that Judge Kindred’s misconduct was pervasive and abusive, constituted sexual harassment, and fostered a hostile work environment that negatively impacted the personal and professional lives of numerous officials,” the council wrote.

“Judge Kindred’s conduct was not courteous, dignified or respectful — the qualities we expect from a federal judge — and his interactions with paralegals were abusive, oppressive and inappropriate.”

Kindred submitted his own nine-page response to the investigation, in which he acknowledged that he “did not maintain proper boundaries and crossed lines that he should not have crossed,” but added that his relationship with the official “was not something that was born out of anything sinister.”

He has since declined to comment.

Chief District Judge Murguia, in a statement on Monday, said judicial power was vested in the self-government and federal judges must meet the “highest standards of integrity and impartiality.”

“This was, by all accounts, a serious and delicate matter,” she said. “I thank the witnesses who came forward with information, fully understanding how difficult this may have been. In my role as chief, I will continue to ensure that our judges are held to the highest standards.”

Kindred’s nomination was approved by the Senate in February 2020 by a vote of 54-41, mostly along party lines, making him one of the youngest to receive the lifetime honor.

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski wrote on X on Monday that his resignation was “more than appropriate” and promised she would “work quickly to propose a replacement candidate for consideration.”

Another Republican state senator, Dan Sullivan, said in a statement: “The misconduct by Judge Kindred revealed in the recent investigation is extremely disappointing.

“I will continue to work with the Alaska Federal Judicial Council to appoint federal judges who understand Alaska’s unique role in our federal system.

“This is extremely important for our country.”

With Kindred’s resignation, the only active district court judge serving in Alaska remains Chief Judge Sharon Gleason. Anchorage Daily News.

Judge Gleason is expected to take over most of the 77 open criminal cases and 148 open civil cases handled by her former colleague.