Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi jumped into the Chad Johnson domestic violence fray, saying that the Broward County judge who sentenced the former Miami Dolphins receiver to 30 days in the pokey overreacted!
Johnson, 35, was sent to jail Monday after he patted the behind of his lawyer, Adam Swickle, while Judge Katie McHugh lavished praises on him for coming up with a plan to keep Johnson, who allegedly violated his domestic violence probation, out of jail.
McHugh, however, changed her mind when her courtroom erupted in laughter, rescinded the plea offer and sent Johnson to the big house.
Now, Conservative Republican Bondi says the judge’s move had more to do with her temper than Johnson’s wrong doing.
“Although we never condone domestic violence, this event seems to question judicial temperament, not the subject matter before the court,” Bondi told a media organization based in Los Angeles.
While Bondi has been generally supportive of those fighting against domestic violence, her words rattled cages at the Fort Lauderdale courthouse — as much because elected official Bondi’s talking about a pending case as she is taking on a well-respected rookie judge.
Said Chief Judge Peter Weinstein, McHugh’s boss: “It’s not appropriate for me to comment about a pending case, but in general, the 17th Judicial Circuit Court takes domestic violence very seriously.”
Johnson originally got in trouble for roughing up ex-wife Evelyn Lozada last summer.
He headbutted her during an argument over condoms, causing lacerations to her head.
As he faced jail time for assault, Johnson was sentenced to one year probation — which he allegedly violated last month by not showing up to meetings with his probation officer and not completing domestic violence counseling.
Said Ginger Lerner-Wren, another Broward judge: “Judge McHugh is doing a good job in her courtroom and is well respected. We are very sensitive to domestic violence, and each judge has control on how business is conducted in a courtroom.”
Bondi, by the way, has yet to respond to several press inquiries about the reasons for her involvement in Johnson’s case.