A Chicago judge was caught insulting a high-profile civil rights attorney, calling her court performance “crazy and crazy” when his inappropriate conversation was caught on a hot microphone during a live broadcast on Tuesday.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge William Raines was heard making derogatory comments about Jennifer Bunjian, an attorney who previously defended Bill Cosby, while speaking with two attorneys general and a public defender.
‘Did you see her acting crazy?! The judge said of Bonjian appearing in court defending a client.
“It was very entertaining,” Assistant Attorney General Susie Bucaro said.
‘It has been fun for me,’ replied the judge, and later said, ‘Can you imagine getting up next to her every day? Oh my God.’
Cook County Judge William Raines (left) is heard making derogatory comments about Jennifer Bunjian, a high-profile civil rights attorney who previously defended Bill Cosby.
Bonjean (left) previously represented Bill Cosby (center) and helped get rid of his conviction
After both Bucaro and her fellow Assistant Prosecutor Anna Seidelmeier laughed, Bucaro replied, “There would be a number of things wrong in my life if I got up next to her every day.”
of which Reigns said, “I can’t get a visual of it if you pay me.”
Reigns and Bucaro then continued to taunt one of Bonjean’s lieutenants, who called him “a 13-year-old boy in a suit,” referring to him as Bonjean’s “baby man.”
The judge then shifts speed to paperwork before realizing that the court’s live broadcast is still running.
The live broadcast has since been taken down, but Acting Criminal Circuit Judge Erica Riddick has ordered the video to be preserved officially so it can be used in Bonjean’s complaint to the Board of Judicial Investigation.
Bonjean read a transcript of the incident to WGN and criticized Raines for his inappropriate comments, adding that the judge was not fit to do his job.
“He should not preside over matters as important as criminal court proceedings where people’s lives are at stake.”
Full transcript of the incident shows Reigns making fun of Bunjin with two prosecutors
Bunjian was in court on behalf of her client, Roosevelt Miles, 57, who she claims was charged by police and wrongly convicted of murder in 1996.
Miles, who was released in 2020 and is seeking acquittal, told Buzzfeed he doubted his name would be cleared after he learned of the incident.
“It just shows what we’re facing,” he said.
His case was the basis for the investigative television series Reasonable Doubt, which shed light on the 1992 murder case for which he was convicted and determined that he was likely innocent.
The court has not made a ruling on whether or not Reigns should remain in the case.
Roosevelt Miles, 57, was allegedly indicted by police for murder in 1992. Despite being released from prison in 2020, Bonjean is making his case to be cleared and his name cleared
A spokeswoman for Chief Justice Timothy Evans’ office said Raines could not comment on the matter, as it relates to an outstanding case.
Cook County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Kim Fox said in a statement that Fox spoke to the two prosecutors involved in the conversation.
Their behavior is “unacceptable and contrary to the values of this administration. Their actions reflect poorly on the work of our office and the entire criminal justice system,” the statement said.
Bonjean confirmed that both state associate attorneys as well as Foxx herself had reached out to apologize, and she accepted their apology.
She added that the incident highlights a problem in the Cook County criminal court system where prosecutors and public defenders are tasked with handling cases before a single judge.
Bonjean claimed that the system encourages both parties to try to woo the judge for the sake of their clients or their jobs, which she said may have caused prosecutors to join in the judge’s inappropriate comments.