A lawyer for a Los Angeles-based state appeals court justice told a panel of judges Monday that sexual harassment charges against him stemmed from a “whisper campaign” in court hallways fueled in part by a female judge who enjoyed being at the center of attention.
During the first day of formal proceedings against 2nd District Court of Appeal Justice Jeffrey H. Johnson, his lawyer suggested Johnson was the victim of malicious gossip and that some of his accusers, including Justice Victoria Chaney, were not credible.
Chaney, who serves on the 2nd District court with Johnson, has accused him of sexually harassing her for years, grabbing one of her breasts, patting her bottom and repeatedly asking her to have an affair with him. She and Johnson were appointed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Chaney is one of nearly 20 women who have told the state Commission on Judicial Performance that Johnson harassed them over the past two decades. Johnson has denied the most serious charges, but admitted that he did not have proper boundaries.
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