Judge accused of making racist comments now facing allegations of ‘witness interference and tampering’

A judge who allegedly made racist remarks during a meeting with an Arab American lawyer and two prosecutors is now accused of improperly contacting the prosecutors afterwards in an apparent attempt at "witness interference and tampering."

"The conduct … clearly establishes that Judge [William] Hooks cannot fulfill his ethical duties as a member of the judiciary in this or any other case," attorney Matthew Fakhoury states in a court filing Thursday.

Fakhoury had complained in a motion last week that Hooks made racist and other inappropriate comments during a January meeting in his chambers with Fakhoury and two prosecutors to discuss a pending domestic violence case.

Hooks "stereotypically" commented about people accused of domestic violence and said, "Middle Eastern men are also controlling and abusive," according to the motion.

"I would shoot and kill men like that from Middle Eastern countries," Hooks continued while referring to his military service, the motion states.

In his motion, Fakhoury sought a new judge in the case because he believed Hooks could not be fair and impartial.

During a hearing on the motion Thursday, Hooks removed himself from the case. It will now go before Criminal Division Presiding Judge Erica Reddick on Friday to be reassigned.


Fakhoury made the new allegations in a supplemental filing Thursday, saying the judge improperly called the prosecutors who were in the room during the January meeting to discuss their recollections of it.

Judges are forbidden by law from having conversations about cases with only one party involved present.

Fakhoury said details of those conversations were provided by the state’s attorney’s office in a "notice of disclosure" sent to the attorney. It states that Hooks called two assistant state’s attorneys involved in the case on Monday, though neither answered the call.

Hooks followed up the call with a text message to one of the prosecutors, writing that she should "please give me a call" and adding that the matter was "fairly important."

The assistant state’s attorney said that prompted her to return the call, during which Hooks asked if she recalled the meeting and told her Fakhoury had filed a motion alleging he had "said something discriminating against Arab men."

Hooks asked if she remembered the meeting and insisted that "he would never say something like that and that she would have called him out on it if he did." The conversation made the prosecutor "uncomfortable" and she "did not know how to respond," according to the disclosure statement.

Hooks then apparently referred to a news article about Fakhoury’s motion for a new judge. "Judge Hooks said he was intrigued by the timing of the article because he had ‘something favorable’ coming his way," according to the filing.

On Wednesday, Hooks saw the other prosecutor at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse and asked to speak with him in his chambers, the filing states. During that meeting, Hooks told the prosecutor "I just wanted to say about this whole situation, I hope you know I did not threaten to kill that man," according to the disclosure statement.

The prosecutor interrupted the judge and said he had been instructed not to talk with anyone about the matter, including the judge, the filing states. Hooks said he understood and the conversation ended.

In his filing, Fakhoury called the judge’s attempts to discuss the matter with prosecutors outside of his presence as "not only unprofessional, unethical and illegal but may also rise to the level of witness interference and tampering."

"The attempted cover-up of the prejudicial, offensive, unethical and racist conduct exhibited by Judge Hooks … is further evidence of his personal bias against me and my client," he continues.

Reached for comment Thursday, Fakhoury said he commended the prosecutors for informing him about the communications immediately, saying "it took courage for them to do so."

"This shows that no one is above the law, including Judge Hooks," Fakhoury said.

Judge Timothy C. Evans, head of the Cook County court system, had no comment on the allegations.