Warning: details included in this story are graphic.
Former judge and current Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano was sued for sexual assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress in Manhattan federal court on Friday. Napolitano says the charges are completely false.
According to the complaint obtained by Law&Crime, in 1988, Napolitano lured Charles Corbishley to his New Jersey home under false pretenses and forced him to perform oral sex.
At the time, Napolitano was the judge presiding over Corbishley’s case on charges of criminal arson. His lawyer, Robert Hollis, was allegedly a self-described “friend” of Napolitano’s and successfully moved to have the case brought under his purview. Hollis then purportedly arranged for Corbishley to do yard work at Napolitano’s Hackensack residence–presumably in exchange for judicial leniency.
“Mr. Corbishley complied with his attorney’s request, and went to the residence as he had been instructed,” the filing said. “Upon arrival at the residence, Mr. Corbishley rang the doorbell, and Defendant answered the door. Plaintiff then handed over [a] Christmas card to Defendant ANDREW NAPOLITANO and told him that he was there to shovel snow.”
According to the lawsuit, however, there was no snow anywhere.
“Defendant NAPOLITANO then instructed Plaintiff to shovel the driveway, starting out in the front and then to work his way around the house,” the filing continued. “Plaintiff found this request to be peculiar, because the driveway already had been shoveled, and there did not appear to be any heavy snow around the house that needed shoveling. In fact, all Plaintiff could see was a layer of ice on the ground, but there was little, if any snow, around the house.”
Corbishley, 20-years-old at the time, then began smoking a cigarette and “pondered what to do next” because he did not understand why he was actually there.
The lawsuit claimed that Napolitano “shortly” exited the house and approached Corbishley, summoning him to the side of the house by asking: “can you come back here for a minute?” Corbishley claimed he complied with the request. And, at first, Napolitano allegedly just engaged him in small talk about his family and a pharmacy in town.
The filing described the alleged attack in graphic detail [emphasis in original]:
Defendant NAPOLITANO then approached Plaintiff CHARLES CORBISHLEY, and stated “you know, you could be going away for a long time.” As Defendant was speaking to Plaintiff, he proceeded to place his hand on Plaintiff’s shoulder, and forced Plaintiff to his knees. As he pushed Plaintiff down toward the ground, Defendant told Plaintiff to “be a good boy.” At this point, Defendant NAPOLITANO appeared to be masturbating through his clothing, moving his hand back and forth over his penis. Thereafter, Defendant NAPOLITANO pulled his erect penis out. Plaintiff Charles Corbishley was then forced to perform fellatio on the Honorable Andrew Napolitano, the presiding Justice on his criminal case.
“At this moment, Plaintiff was paralyzed with fear,” the lawsuit continued. “He wanted desperately to stop Defendant NAPOLITANO’s sexual assault, but he was terrified about what Judge Napolitano would do to him if he resisted or fought back. Based on the power disparity between Judge Napolitano and Corbishley, it was impossible for Plaintiff CHARLES CORBISHLEY to have ‘consented’ to any sexual activities with NAPOLITANO.”
The filing also graphically recounted the end of the alleged incident and aftermath:
As Defendant began to ejaculate into Plaintiff’s mouth, Plaintiff took off crying and ran away. Plaintiff was only 20 years old at the time of this sexual assault. Plaintiff then stopped by a nearby diner and desperately tried to clean himself and remove the semen from his clothing, face and mouth.
Roughly two days later, per the lawsuit, Corbishley’s lawyer appeared to praise what had allegedly occurred between his client and Napolitano.
“During this conversation, Mr. Hollis intimated that he knew exactly what had happened between Judge Napolitano and Mr. Corbishley,” the filing alleged. “Specifically, Hollis told Mr. Corbishley something to the effect that ‘we both have him now,’ and ‘don’t worry about anything.’”
Corbishley was ultimately granted probation and community service.
A later slate of criminal charges–in violation of his probation–were also more or less extinguished.
“The Court finds that the defendant has been burdened with probation long enough given the nature of the original offense, and that further probation would be fruitless and frustrative for both the defendant and probation department,” Napolitano wrote at the time.
But the story and alleged relationship between Napolitano and Corbishley didn’t quite end there.
“The complaint declares that Judge Napolitano recently attempted to stop Mr. Corbishley from filing this lawsuit by making up false criminal charges against him,” a press release from Corbishley’s legal team alleges. “Specifically, Napolitano recently contacted law enforcement officials in New Jersey and told them that Mr. Corbishley had made violent threats against him. These claims were outright fabrications that Napolitano made to intimidate Mr. Corbishley and prevent him from filing this lawsuit.”
Napolitano has vehemently and categorically denied all the accusations.
“These accusations are completely false,” the former judge said in a statement provided to Law&Crime by his attorney Tom Clare. “Full stop. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes, at any time, to anyone, for any reason. I have never had any personal relationship or inappropriate contact or communication of any kind with the man making this accusation. Each and every one of his claims against me are pure fiction. Period.”
Clare called the lawsuit “an outrageous abuse of our court system” and said that his client previously reported Corbishley’s threats to federal law enforcement.
“Given Corbishley’s violent past and threats to harm Judge Napolitano, law enforcement is monitoring his movements and taking additional steps to ensure Judge Napolitano’s safety,” the defamation and defense attorney continued. “We will defeat these false allegations in court and look forward to exposing this brazen attemptto smear a dedicated former public servant with an abusive court proceeding.”
Napolitano’s longtime employer is also standing by him as of now.
“Judge Napolitano has assured us in the strongest possible terms that these allegations are false and he will fight them aggressively in court,” Fox News said in a statement to Law&Crime.
Corbishley’s attorneys drew attention to Napolitano’s elite stature.
“For over 30 years, our client has suffered tremendous physical and emotional distress because of Judge Napolitano’s abhorrent actions,”Joseph & Norinsberg LLC partner Jon Norinsberg said. “We will fight vigorously on behalf of Mr. Corbishley to ensure that he gets full justice, and to make sure that Judge Napolitano is finally held accountable for his unlawful actions. No person is above the law, no matter how powerful they are or what their station in life is.”
Co-counsel Bennitta L. Joseph added: “Judge Napolitano perverted the enormous judicial power that we gave him to uphold the law, when he used his judicial authority to sexually assault Mr. Corbishley. Further, Napolitano’s recent use of his judicial power and influence to intimidate Mr. Corbishley into silence by fabricating criminal charges against him, reveal nothing has changed. Judge Napolitano will not hesitate to use his power and influence to intimidate people he perceives as powerless when it satisfies his personal agenda.”
The lawsuit seeks $10 million in damages.
Read the full complaint below:
Editor’s note: this story has been amended post-publication to include statements from the defendant and his attorney.
[image via via Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images]
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