At least 15 women accused Alex Kozinski, a former appellate court judge, of inappropriate behavior.
Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker is trying to position himself as tough on crime and a strong defender of family values. But last week, he accepted a large campaign donation from a former federal judge accused by more than a dozen women of sexual predation.
From 1985 to 2017, Kozinski was a prominent conservative federal judge on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Kozinski, a member of the right-wing Federalist Society, was appointed to the position by former President Ronald Reagan and served as chief judge on the court from 2007 to 2014.
Kozinski's tenure came to an abrupt end in 2017 after at least 15 women, including former law clerks and legal professionals, accused him of sexual misconduct. Their allegations included stories of Kozinski touching them inappropriately and making them watch pornography.
Kozinski initially denied any wrongdoing, but later resigned and partially apologized for his behavior.
"I've always had a broad sense of humor and a candid way of speaking to both male and female law clerks alike," Kozinski explained at the time. "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."
A judicial investigation into the accusations was terminated following his resignation.
Kozinski had previously gotten in trouble for maintaining a server containing pornographic images that he'd accidentally made accessible to the public.
Neither Walker's campaign nor Kozinski immediately responded to an inquiry for this story.
Walker, a former professional football player and until recently a Texas resident, is running for U.S. Senate in Georgia. On his campaign issues page, he claims to be tough on "out of control" crime and to stand for "strong conservative family values."
"He prays every day for this country, and with God's help will bring those values with him to Washington," Walker's campaign website claims. "Herschel is a compassionate conservative who is pro-life and pro-family."
Walker has faced his own allegations of abuse. In December, he said he acknowledged that he was "accountable" for allegations that he threatened his ex-wife Cindy Grossman with knives and guns. He has claimed to have no recollection of the incidents, denied abuse allegations by two other women, and said he never broken the law.
He has also touted an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, for whom Walker worked during Trump's stints as a United States Football League owner and as host of the "Celebrity Apprentice" television show.
Trump has been accused by at least 42 women of sexual assault. He has not been convicted of any crime, but infamously bragged in a leaked "Access Hollywood" tape that he frequently kissed women without their consent and liked to "grab them by the pussy."
Walker has drawn scrutiny for his connections to other controversial campaign donors. Last October, his campaign canceled a fundraising event with Bettina Sofia Viviano-Langlais, a supporter who used an image of syringes shaped like a swastika as her Twitter avatar — an apparent statement against COVID-19 vaccines.
"Despite the fact that the apparent intent behind the graphic was to condemn government vaccine mandates, the symbol used is very offensive and does not reflect the values of Herschel Walker or his campaign," his campaign said at the time.
One month later, Walker's campaign accepted the legal maximum contribution from Viviano-Langlais anyway.
Polls show Walker to be the front-runner for the GOP nomination. If he wins the primary, he will face Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) in November.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.