Hamilton judge who wore Trump hat in court to face discipline hearing

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A Hamilton judge who wore a hat inscribed with Donald Trump’s campaign slogan in court last year will face a public discipline hearing.

The hearing will determine whether there was “judicial misconduct” when Justice Bernd Zabel walked into a Hamilton courtroom on November 9 wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat and made comments about his political views and the views of his judicial colleagues.

Zabel later issued an apology to a mostly empty courtroom saying, “This gesture was not intended in any way as a political statement or endorsement of any political views and in particular the views and comments of Donald Trump.”

If found guilty of judicial misconduct, penalties range from a warning, to suspension without pay, to a recommendation to the Attorney General that the judge be removed from office.

The hearing panel will include a judge of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, who will chair the Panel, a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice, a lawyer and a member of the community.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on August 23 in Toronto.

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