CHICAGO — A federal judge in two of the highest profile criminal cases in Illinois has been removed from hearing all his cases after it was revealed that he had exchanged emails with a paralegal at the U.S. attorney’s office in Springfield in which he commented on a trial he was overseeing.
Colin Bruce has been presiding over former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock‘s corruption case and the case in which Brendt Christensen is accused of kidnapping and slaying a Chinese scholar. Neither has gone to trial.
The chief judge for federal court in central Illinois confirmed Tuesday that he had “temporarily reassigned” Bruce’s cases. He didn’t say why.
The action came days after the emails came to light in a motion for a new trial filed by a woman convicted in 2016 of international parental kidnapping.
Among other things, Bruce said in one email that he “cringed” at a prosecutor’s cross-examination.