San Diego judge faces sexual harassment allegations, campaign rules violations

Posted at 12:09 PM, Feb 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-06 15:19:45-05

SAN DIEGO - A San Diego judge could lose his seat on the bench amid allegations of sexual harassment and campaign rules violations.

A hearing against Judge Gary Kreep began Monday in the 4th District Court of Appeals downtown. Kreep is charged with making inappropriate comments towards lawyers in his court room.

On Monday, former Deputy City Attorney Danielle Stroud told a three-judge panel that Kreep commented on her body while she was pregnant.

During her testimony, Stroud told the court that Kreep said, "Let's get on with this case, we don't want Miss Stroud to have her baby in the court room," and "She wants to go home and have her baby, so I'll pick on her today."

Several other lawyers and judges are expected to testify during the hearing, including former City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.

Kreep is also accused of campaigning against President Obama in 2012 -- while Kreep was also on the ballot for his seat as a judge.

According to campaign rules, people running for judicial offices aren't allowed to publicly comment on other races.

This is not the first time Kreep has been the subject of controversy.

After his election in 2012, 10News reported that Kreep had been a key member of the San Diego "birther" movement, arguing that Obama wasn't born in the U.S.

The NAACP told 10News they doubted whether Kreep could be a fair and impartial judge while still holding those views.

Kreep's attorneys say the charges he faces this month are false. In opening statements Monday, his lawyer told the court that people who were unhappy with his election have put him under an "unfair microscope" since then, and have been in a "relentless" effort to get him off the bench.

They say he leaves his political views outside his courtroom.

The hearing is expected to take several weeks. When it's done, the three-judge panel will present their conclusions to an 11-member panel of judges who will decide what, if any, punishments Kreep will face.

It could range from private rebuke to a full removal from his role as a judge.