The New York Daily News by Melissa Grace, Alison Gendar and Larry McShane - August 27, 2010
A cleavage-crazed criminal court judge - who fathered a son with a young Legal Aid lawyer - quit after officials found a massive porn stash on his work computer, sources said Thursday. Disgraced Manhattan jurist James Gibbons, a whip-smart ex-prosecutor who once convicted rapists and killers, fired off a terse resignation letter last week after the nasty cache was uncovered. "There was a lot of porn on his computer - all young women," an investigator told the Daily News. "Lots of crotch and cleavage shots." The Manhattan district attorney's office is scouring the vile files to determine if criminal charges are warranted - and are checking whether any of the women are underage. Gibbons, 47, already had raised eyebrows with his ethics-skirting romance with Legal Aid lawyer Jeanne Emhoff, 31, who he fathered a son with weeks ago. Emhoff's Facebook page, which was pulled down Thursday, featured a photo of a man with a boy on his shoulder. The porn revelation staggered the baby's grandparents. "This is going to break her heart," Emhoff's stepdad said of his wife. "She thinks the world of Jim. ... This will destroy my wife." Gibbons - who was not arrested - was caught when a computer-monitoring system in the courthouse red-flagged his courthouse terminal, a law enforcement source said. He was on paternity leave when the images were discovered and the computer seized. During the 14 years he worked in the Manhattan district attorney's office, Gibbons was well-known for his efficient handling of street crimes. He also enjoyed a good reputation on the bench after his December 2001 appointment by departing Mayor Rudy Giuliani. "He was a very careful judge on the law," lawyer Adam Freedman said. "If he was using his state-issued computer for illegal activities, it would be uncharacteristic, considering how careful he is on the law." Despite the possible conflicts of interest between Gibbons and Emhoff, a source close to the case said, their affair was unrelated to the investigation. "There is absolutely no link between the judge's relationship with Jeanne Emhoff and any alleged criminal activity," the source said. "One has nothing to do with the other." It was unclear when the porn was found on the disgraced judge's computer, but sources said its discovery was just routine. "In government agencies, and in many private sector firms, employers are able to monitor employee computer usage," a source said. Gibbons quit his position with a simple three-paragraph letter that offered no clues to his sudden nightmare. "It has been a privilege to serve as a judge of the Criminal Court of the City of New York," he wrote. "Please accept this letter as a statement of my resignation of that office effective today." email@example.com - With Edgar Sandoval, Irving DeJohn and Michael J. Feeney
The New Post by LAURA ITALIANO, JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN and LARRY CELONA - August 26, 2010
A highly-respected Manhattan judge -- already on paternity leave after fathering a child with a Legal Aid lawyer -- has resigned and is under investigation after officials found questionable pornography on his work computer, The Post has learned. The ex-judge, James Gibbons, who handles misdemeanor and pre-indicted criminal cases, was already on thin ice ethics-wise after impregnating the public defender -- a possible conflict of interest had she appeared before his bench, multiple sources involved in the investigation told The Post. Then court officials learned earlier this month that he had been surfing questionable pornography sites, and, suspecting the porn could involve underage girls, turned the matter over to the DA's office while both the lawyer -- Jeane Emhoff, a pretty blonde ten years his junior -- and the judge were on leave caring for their new son, sources said. Gibbons, 47, resigned Aug 17. A Harvard-educated former prosecutor with the Manhattan DA's appeals bureau and a Giuliani appointee, he is widely regarded as a learned and methodical jurist. His high-profile defendants have included Naomi Campbell -- for whom Gibbons nearly issued a bench warrant when she missed a court date on charges she flung a cell phone at a maid . Investigators said rumors were already swirling about the judge drinking during non-work hours with a clique of Legal Aid lawyers -- public defenders who represent many of the defendants before him, sources said. Then Emhoff became pregnant. "He likely would have faced judicial sanctions for that -- even though it's not illegal," said one law enforcement source. "It was only after one of them got pregnant, and it came out that he was the father, that they began investigating him for possibly not recusing himself," said another law enforcement source said. "Then Bam!" said the source. "They come across child pornography." Gibbons' supporters at 100 Centre Street, where he worked, said he and his girlfriend plan to marry and are raising their son together. Gibbons could not be reached for comment; Emhoff declined comment when approached by reporters at the couple's Park Slope apartment. Office of Court Administration spokesman David Bookstaver declined to comment on the matter, other than to say, "When we become aware of a possible crime, we refer such issues to the appropriate authorities." Gibbons could not immediately be reached for comment. Erin Duggan, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan DA's office, said it was office policy not to confirm whether someone is under investigation. Rebecca Harshbarger contributed to this story.
Manhattan Judge Resigns Abruptly
The New York Law Journal by Noeleen G. Walder - August 27, 2010
A veteran Manhattan Criminal Court judge has abruptly quit. James D. Gibbons' Aug. 17 letter of resignation gave no reasons for his decision, court system spokesman David Bookstaver said yesterday. "It has been a privilege to serve as a judge of the Criminal Court of the City of New York since my appointment in December 2001," Judge Gibbons wrote. "Please accept this letter as a statement of my resignation of that office effective today." Judge Gibbons was appointed to the Brooklyn bench by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and reappointed in December 2002 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He moved to Manhattan in 2003. A graduate of Harvard School of Law, he spent 13 years in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office before becoming a judge. Criminal Court has been hammered by heavy backlogs, but Judge Gibbons had been on paternity leave since the birth of a son in July, so other judges already were covering for his absence. Judge Gibbons has been involved in a relationship with a Legal Aid attorney. Patricia Bath, a spokeswoman for the group, said the lawyer, whom she would not identify, had followed Legal Aid policy by disclosing "her close relationship with the judge to her supervisors, and she did not appear in cases before him." Several defense attorneys praised Judge Gibbons' performance on the bench. "He was one of the smartest judges around," said Amelio P. Marino. Adam Freedman added that Judge Gibbon's was "a very careful judge who made sure everything was exactly right." Both the New York Post and Daily News quoted unnamed law enforcement sources as saying pornography had been found on the judge's work computer. Judge Gibbons did not answer the door at his Brooklyn apartment last night and could not be reached for comment. A spokeswoman for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office declined to comment.