Edward Nottingham, the chief federal judge in Colorado, has been linked to a high-priced escort service in Denver and is the focus of a broadening investigation into allegations he “has brought disrepute to the judiciary,” the Rocky Mountain News reports. A decision by Robert Henry, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, to proceed in an investigation of Nottingham is significant because complaints against judges typically are dismissed after a preliminary review.
The troubles of Nottingham, 60, started last year, when his ex-wife went public with statements he made during their divorce proceedings. The judge admitted he had spent $3,000 over two days at a topless dance club in downtown Denver and that he didn’t remember everything that happened because he had been drinking. Nottingham calling the issues “private and personal matters involving human frailties and foibles.” Then a disabled woman complained that the judge parked in a handicapped spot outside a drug store without a handicapped permit. Last week, 9News reported that Nottingham’s name and phone number were on a list of clients seized during a raid on a Denver prostitution ring known as Denver Players or Denver Sugar. The TV station quoted a man who said he drove prostitutes to encounters with Nottingham. “The likelihood a judge would be removed from office for a violation of prostitution law is small,” said Steven Lubet, a professor at Northwestern University Law School and co-author of Judicial Conduct and Ethics.