Prominent US judge accused of sexual misconduct retires

WASHINGTON: A prominent US appeals court judge announced his immediate retirement on Monday following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Alex Kozinski, 67, who served on the powerful San Francisco-based US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, was accused of inappropriate behaviour by at least 15 former clerks and staffers.

The Romanian-born Kozinski is the highest-ranking jurist ensnared in a swirling nationwide reckoning on sexual harassment and abuse, which has toppled a number of powerful men in entertainment, politics and the media.

Several women accused the powerful judge of touching them inappropriately, while others said he had made them watch pornography on his computer.

"I've always had a broad sense of humour and a candid way of speaking to both male and female law clerks alike," Kozinski said in a statement.

"In doing so, I may not have been mindful enough of the special challenges and pressures that women face in the workplace," he said.

"It grieves me to learn that I caused any of my clerks to feel uncomfortable; this was never my intent.

"For this, I sincerely apologize," he said. — AFP