GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A Gwinnett County judge has been indicted on suspicion of hiring private investigators and a convicted felon to monitor her work computer, allowing them improper access to the county’s network.
Superior Court Judge Kathryn Schrader, convicted child molester and DragonCon co-founder Ed Kramer and private investigators T.J. Ward and Frank Karic are each facing three charges of criminal trespass in the case. Each felony count carries a maximum of 15 years in prison.
The indictment alleges that Schrader, Kramer, Ward and Karic used the county’s computer network in order to interfere with, remove data from and “alter” the network.
Schrader was silent as she walked into jail with her attorney.
"It's truly stunning that she was indicted, but we will fight it out in court," defense attorney BJ Bernstein said.
Schrader believed district attorney Danny Porter was monitoring her computer, and she wanted proof. She later denied involvement when investigators found a wiretap.
"I don't have any explanation as to why she thinks that I hacked into her computer," Porter said.
Just before the judge arrived at the jail, Ward walked in with his attorney.
"Mr. Ward is a prominent figure in this community, and we are prepared to defend his reputation and these charges," defense attorney Mike Puglise said.
The case is being handled by lawyers from the Prosecuting Attorneys Council. Channel 2 Gwinnett Count Bureau Chief Tony Thomas learned an outside judge will be brought in to handle the case.
“(Schrader) will use the justice system as she should, as every citizen should, to assert she is not guilty of this,” Bernstein said.
Scharder, Ward and Karic all bonded out Wednesday afternoon. The judge was allowed out on a signature bond, and Ward and Karic were granted $25,000 bonds.
Kramer was denied bond. He remains behind bars and will remain there until at least a later bond hearing.
Ultimately, it will be up to the state Judicial Qualifications Commission to decide if Schrader can stay on the bench.
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