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Trump-appointed judge in Alaska resigns over sexual misconduct, leaving only 1 judge in state

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — (AP) — A U.S. District Court judge in Alaska has resigned and could face impeachment after having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a clerk who later became an assistant U.S. Attorney and then repeatedly lying about it to investigators, a judicial investigation found.

The resignation by Joshua Kindred leaves the U.S. District Court for Alaska with only one full-time judge.

Kindred sent his resignation letter to President Joe Biden July 3. It was effective Monday.

The resignation came at the request of the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit Court, which also sent the matter to the Judicial Conference of the United States to consider impeachment proceedings against Kindred.

Kindred, who was appointed to the bench by former President Donald Trump in 2020, did not return a message left on his cellphone by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The probe began in November 2022 when Chief Circuit Judge Mary H. Murguia first learned of possible misconduct.

The subsequent investigation by a special committee resulted in a 105-page report and 1,039 pages of exhibits, including 700 pages of text messages between Kindred and his clerks.

The Judicial Council found that Kindred created a hostile workplace environment and “appeared to have no filter” in his discussions with 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.

He also once texted a clerk, “So it looks like I might need a judicial Tinder profile." Tinder is an online dating app.

The report also notes a close relationship between Kindred and one clerk. Over 11 months, they exchanged enough text messages to fill 278 pages, with only a few tied to her regular duties.

On Oct. 3, 2022, a week after she left the clerk’s position for a job as an assistant U.S. Attorney in Alaska, they went out for drinks. He offered to give her a ride home, but he needed to stop by the courthouse. He invited her to his chambers, where she alleged that he groped and kissed her, the report said.

Four days later, Kindred was moving out of his home, and she threw a pizza party for him. She left, but he texted and said he needed to talk to her. They wound up at her apartment, where they had a sexual encounter, according to the investigation.

The report said Kindred repeatedly lied about both encounters in written responses and during an interview. He admitted to the conduct only when pressed in the interview by Judicial Council members and presented evidence, the report says.

The report found another assistant U.S. Attorney in Alaska sent him nude photographs, and that he spoke about this with clerks. This attorney had practiced before Kindred, unlike the clerk who became an attorney. The report said he also talked with other clerks about suggestive text messages from another local attorney who regularly appeared in his court.

“He undertook all these actions without any regard for the impact of and the ethical issues raised by his conduct,” the report said. “He remains strikingly unaware that he was the source of all these issues.”

With two assistant U.S. attorneys in the Anchorage office mentioned in the report, U.S. Attorney for Alaska S. Tucker Lane did not respond to questions whether there was an investigation underway.

“Our office cannot comment on personnel matters and will not provide any further comment at this time,” spokesperson Reagan Zimmerman said in an email.

U.S. District Chief Judge Sharon Gleason is the only full-time judge now on the Alaska federal bench.

Besides Kindred’s open seat, Alaska’s third judicial position has been vacant since Dec. 31, 2021, when U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess went to senior status.

There are four other senior judges, who are U.S. District judges who normally take a reduced caseload.

Kindred was assigned to 77 open criminal cases and 148 civil cases. All will be reassigned to Gleason except for seven cases in the Juneau division, which will be assigned to Burgess.

Alaska also has two active full-time magistrate judges, one recalled magistrate and another on part-time status. Only district judges can preside over a felony criminal trial, but magistrate judges can preside over civil trials if all parties agree, according to the U.S. District Court clerk’s office.

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