Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Kathryn Schrader is reportedly not allowed to hear any cases prosecuted by Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter’s office for at least the next two months while the Georgia Bureau of Investigation sorts out a complicated dispute between the two public officials.
Porter confirmed news reports that a visiting Fulton County judge issued the ruling barring Schrader from presiding over cases for 60 days during a hearing Thursday.
The ruling stems from an unusual case in which Schrader accused Porter of hacking her work computer, and he in turn raised concerns that the county’s computer network may have been compromised. He then asked that she recuse herself from any cases his office is prosecuting.
The GBI is looking into how the hacking investigation Schrader had done was conducted.
At Thursday’s hearing, Fulton County Judge John Goger told the GBI to present a report to him in 50 days to explain where the agency is at in its investigation, Porter confirmed to the Daily Post. Goger could extend the ban on Schrader hearing criminal cases beyond the 60-day limit if the GBI has not completed its investigation by then.
Although he confirmed reports about the hearing, Porter declined to comment specifically on Goger’s decision.
Schrader’s attorney, B.J. Bernstein, said she could neither comment on the matter nor confirm reports about what happened at the hearing.
The county has brought in senior judges to take over Schrader’s criminal case load while she is recused.
The unusual case first surfaced in March after it was revealed that Schrader hired private investigator T.J. Ward because she believed her work computer was being hacked. Ward, in turn, brought in convicted sex offender Ed Kramer, who Ward said has computer training, to look into the matter.
Kramer pleaded guilty to child molestation charges in Gwinnett years ago. He was arrested again earlier this year after he allegedly photographed a young child at a doctor’s office in Lawrenceville.
Porter’s office realized Kramer had gained access to the county’s computer network when his computers were seized in February following his arrest.
The hacking investigation done by Ward and Kramer led to accusations that Porter may have hacked the judge’s computer — something the district attorney has repeatedly denied. Porter then asked for Schrader to recuse herself from any cases his office is prosecuting, saying he didn’t believe she could fairly hear cases brought by his office.
The GBI began an investigation into alleged “unauthorized access into the Gwinnett County (computer) network” by Kramer in early March.
It has released little information about that investigation.