FBI questions ex-wife of federal chief judge

5:17 AM, Aug 11, 2007   |    comments
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Marcie Jaeger, who was divorced from Judge Nottingham last month after three years of marriage, met with agents who came to her home to discuss issues raised in the couple's divorce hearings.

Court documents from the hearings obtained by 9Wants to Know show Judge Nottingham and Jaeger both testified about the judge's use of what he called an Internet dating service. Jaeger testified that when she confronted Judge Nottingham in his chambers about credit card charges to the site, the judge pulled up the site on his federal computer with one key stroke.

"When I asked about the dating service he turned around in his chambers and he hit his computer and he told me all about the dating service," Jaeger said in court. "It was a porn site."

The Web site, called IPayFriendFinder.com, has many portals, some of which lead to sexually graphic material. Court records show that Judge Nottingham has made more than a dozen payments to the site totaling more than $500.

Meanwhile, on Friday a federal court clerk issued the following statement to 9NEWS on behalf of Judge Nottingham:

"Judge Nottingham believes the underlying issues raised by Channel Nine News are private and personal matters involving human frailties and foibles, matters which have now become public as a result of protracted, bitter divorce proceedings. Judge Nottingham has attempted to deal with the issues privately, and he will continue to do so. No purpose would be served by exploring these matters publicly."

The court records also show that Judge Nottingham said he was too drunk to remember how he spent more than $3,000 at a strip club in two consecutive days.

The FBI declined to comment to 9NEWS for this story.

Under the U.S. Constitution, federal judges are appointed for life by the president of the United States, and answer only to the president and Congress.

Friday, a spokesman for U.S. Senator Ken Salazar issued a statement regarding Judge Nottingham.

"Chief Judge Edward Nottingham has served with distinction on the bench for 18 years," said spokesman Cody Wertz. "Now, serious allegations have been raised against him. The Federal Courts have a comprehensive system for review of judicial conduct. That review process should run its course."

As the chief federal judge in Colorado, Judge Nottingham is held to the highest standards of personal and professional conduct.

He recently presided over the insider trading trial of ex-Qwest Communications CEO Joseph Nacchio.

Records show Judge Nottingham married his wife, Marcie Jaeger, on Valentine's Day 2004, and that the marriage ended after Jaeger found the credit card charges from a strip club in downtown Denver.

In the couple's divorce case in Eagle County district court last month, Judge Nottingham was questioned about the credit card charges.

Judge Nottingham testified, "I'm ashamed and mortified just telling you that is the Diamond Cabaret ... a topless establishment."

Asked how he could have spent so much money, Judge Nottingham testified he could not recall, explaining, "I had had a lot to drink … and I don't remember."

During his testimony, Judge Nottingham called Friend Finder, "A dating site – an Internet dating site."

When asked in court about a $150 charge to IPayFriendFinder.com, Judge Nottingham said, "I'm embarrassed to be even talking about this. I think you pay extra to get certain features, such as if you upload a picture or – I don't even recall."

As a federal judge, Judge Nottingham is expected to follow an official code of conduct, which contains this explanation:

"Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by irresponsible or improper conduct by judges. A judge must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety. A judge must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny. A judge must therefore accept restrictions that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen and should do so freely and willingly. The prohibition against behaving with impropriety or the appearance of impropriety applies to both the professional and personal conduct of a judge."

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