Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper's live-in boyfriend of two years is a convicted sex offender under indictment for extortion in New York.
After Donna Rossi, reporter for Channel 5 News, (KPHO-TV) broke the story on Monday, Cooper issued a brief statement saying she's booted her boyfriend out and hadn't known of his criminal past.
Cooper ruled on some very high-profile cases in the last couple of years, including an order in August that Arizona has short-changed its schools by $317 million and must pay them back. In March, she declared that Arizona's medical-marijuana law made cannabis concentrates legal for authorized users, thwarting the plans of County Attorney Bill Montgomery to prosecute medical users caught with "shatter" or food products made with pot resin.
The judge's boyfriend, Michael Kent Krause, 52 was indicted recently in New York on a felony charge of grand larceny due to extortion, and detectives tracked him down to a Mesa trailer. Krause listed the trailer's address as a requirement for New York's sex-offender registry, but detectives soon learned he didn't really live there.
Reportedly, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation records show that Krause has spent time in prison for burglary, assault with a deadly weapon and assault with intent to commit a sex offense.
During his initial appearance in court, Krause was represented by high-dollar, highly decorated Phoenix attorney Michael Morrissey...
A check of Morrissey's background revealed that he and Cooper earned their undergraduate and law school degrees from the same university in the same year and have known each other for more than 30 years.
"CBS 5 News tried to contact Cooper and she issued this statement:
"'I was shocked when I learned of the allegations regarding Michael Krause on Tuesday. I had no knowledge of any of the charges against him. I have no further relationship with Mr. Krause, and he no longer resides at my residence.'
"Cooper also denied knowing that Krause was a convicted felon and registered sex offender. When asked if she hired Morrissey to represent Krause and if she put up his bond money, CBS 5 News was told the judge would not make additional comments."
A former assistant Scottsdale city attorney and private lawyer, Cooper was appointed to the bench by Governor Jan Brewer in 2011. Voters decided in November to retain her as a judge.
News of her naughty boyfriend could harm her career, possibly.
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But if true love really is blind, then perhaps Cooper can be forgiven for failing to see Krause's rap sheet.
Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.