A Harvard-educated judge, Gary N. Wilcox, aged 59, is currently facing scrutiny after it was discovered that he had been posting ‘inappropriate’ videos on TikTok under the pseudonym Sal Tortorella.
Wilcox, based in New Jersey, posted videos where he lip-synced lyrics from popular rap songs by artists like Nas, Busta Rhymes, and Miguel.
These videos, filmed from his bed or chambers, contained explicit language, including sexual and racist content.
Out of the 40 videos he shared, 11 were deemed improper by the judicial conduct committee.
Wilcox’s actions came to light when the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct filed a formal complaint against him on July 1.
In response, Wilcox submitted a 21-page verified answer on Friday, acknowledging that his behavior was ‘questionable’ and ‘inappropriate.’
He admitted that he had used the pseudonym Sal Tortorella between March 2021 and April 2023 and claimed that he was unaware that his TikTok account was public and accessible to anyone.
He argued that if he had known, he would have refrained from sharing such content.
The complaint charged Wilcox with violating three judicial canons, alleging that his decision to post the videos demonstrated poor judgment and disrespect for the judiciary.
The judicial conduct committee stated that his actions brought disrepute to the judiciary and reflected an inability to adhere to the high standards of conduct expected of judges.
Wilcox’s TikTok videos featured him lip-syncing to songs that included references to violence, sex, misogyny, and racist language.
In some of the videos, he appeared in his judicial robes, while others were filmed in his chambers or even from his bed.
Wilcox contended that he was not well-versed in the platform’s usage and did not understand the implications of posting content publicly on TikTok.
The disciplinary proceedings that Wilcox now faces could result in admonition or even dismissal from his judicial position.
His lawyer, Robert Hille, stated that they were unaware of who had filed the initial complaint and believed there was no underlying motive behind it.
Wilcox’s TikTok account is no longer active, and he has no intentions of renewing it.
Despite the controversy surrounding his TikTok posts, Wilcox has been a Superior Court judge since 2011, specializing in criminal cases in Bergen County.
He was admitted to the New Jersey bar over thirty years ago.
As the proceedings unfold, Wilcox maintains that any disciplinary action taken against him should not exceed a reprimand.