A clerk with the 2nd District Court of Appeal settled her lawsuit alleging a former justice sexually harassed her for five years before he was removed from the bench in June for a history of such misconduct with multiple women.
Lawyers for Trisha Velez filed court papers Sept. 29 with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michelle Williams Court stating that her lawsuit against the state of California and ex-Justice Jeffrey Johnson was resolved. No terms were divulged.
Velez testified in proceedings leading up to Johnson’s June removal from the bench by the Commission on Judicial Performance. The judicial watchdog agency found he touched four women without their consent, including Associate Justice Victoria Chaney, who said he groped her breasts and buttocks. Velez became Chaney’s clerk in 2013.
According to the CJP, in late 2013 Johnson asked Velez to accompany him for coffee about five times and she declined each invitation. He told Velez on one day after those five times that he knew Chaney was not present at the court and that the plaintiff therefore had no excuse for not going to coffee with him, according to the CJP.
Velez accepted that time and again two weeks later, according to the CJP. During the second occasion, Johnson asked Velez about her childhood, her upbringing and her family’s religious beliefs, according to the CJP. He also inquired if she had a boyfriend when she was growing up, if she had been married before and how her first marriage ended, according to the CJP.
When Velez told Johnson that her first husband was a philanderer, Johnson said he was unhappy in his marriage and told the plaintiff that if she were married to him, she would “never leave her bed,” or words to that effect, according to the CJP.
Johnson also told Velez he liked her, prompting her to tell him to stop such talk and that she had to leave, according to the CJP.
Johnson asked Velez to go to coffee with him again two weeks later and she said she never wanted to do go anywhere with him again, according to the CJP. About five minutes later, he called Velez and asked her to come to his chambers, according to the CJP.
From August 2013 to June 2018, Johnson repeatedly told Velez, “You’re my favorite,” “We’re good,” “I got your back” and “Love you,” according to the CJP.
Johnson told Velez not to tell anyone he made the comments and blew kisses at her, according to the CJP.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: