Cook County, Illinois, lawyer who posed as judge charged

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CHICAGO (AP) _ A Chicago-area judicial candidate now faces charges after she was fired as a court staff attorney earlier this year for donning a robe and hearing real cases on the bench.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said Friday in a statement that Rhonda Crawford has been indicted on charges of felony official misconduct and misdemeanor false impersonation.

Crawford is the Democratic candidate for an open county judgeship and was considered a shoo-in to win the Nov. 8 election.

The news of the 45-year-old role-playing a Cook County juge astonished the legal community and triggered the criminal investigation.

Crawford has expressed regret but also said the matter has been blown out of proportion. Her lawyer has said Democratic powerbrokers are using the incident to undermine Crawford’s election bid.

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