Candidate charged for allegedly impersonating a judge says politics to blame

CHICAGO -- A Cook County law clerk who was fired for allegedly impersonating a judge is defending herself against the allegation.

In a news conference Thursday, Rhonda Crawford said it was a mistake for her to put on judge's robes and sit on the bench, but she never claimed to be a judge while sitting in on three traffic court cases.

Crawford is currently running for a seat on the 1st Judicial Subcircuit. And although she defeated two rivals in the March Democratic primary to run unopposed for the position, she is now facing competition from write-in candidate Judge Maryam Ahmad.

Crawford's attorney, Victor Henderson, says the allegations against Crawford are politically motivated, and it's unfair she should have to go against a write-in candidate.  But Judge Ahmad's lawyer Burt Odelson said he doesn't buy Crawford's argument that she was merely shadowing Judge Valerie Turner. Both Turner and Crawford were disciplined by Chief Judge Timothy Evans.

The state's attorney's office also began a criminal investigation that could lead to charges against Crawford.

To read Crawford's full statement, click here.