Alex Kozinski, the powerful judge on the California-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit who was facing a judicial investigation over allegations that he subjected 15 women to inappropriate sexual behavior, announced Monday that he would retire immediately, the Washington Post reports. Kozinski apologized, saying that he “had a broad sense of humor and a candid way of speaking to both male and female law clerks alike,” and that “in doing so, I may not have been mindful enough of the special challenges and pressures that women face in the workplace. It grieves me to learn that I caused any of my clerks to feel uncomfortable; this was never my intent.”
Kozinski, 67, said although family and friends had urged him to stay on, “at least long enough to defend myself,” he “cannot be an effective judge and simultaneously fight this battle. Nor would such a battle be good for my beloved federal judiciary.” The announcement comes a few days after the Post reported that nine more women had accused Kozinski of subjecting them to sexual comments or other conduct, including four who said he touched them inappropriately. The Post earlier detailed the allegations of six women, including former clerks who said Kozinski had them watch porn in his chambers. After the first report, the chief judge of the 9th Circuit initiated a review of Kozinski’s conduct, and the case was assigned on Friday to the New York-based 2nd Circuit judicial council.