Former Bergen County Judge and Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano is countersuing the man who accused him of sexual assault, alleging his reputation has been destroyed by a smear campaign.
Napolitano claims Charles Corbishley tarnished his name by concocting a “sham” lawsuit accusing the former judge of forcing Corbishley to perform oral sex on him in the late 1980s. Corbishley, a South Carolina resident who stood in Napolitano’s court on arson and burglary charges at the time of the alleged assault, is seeking $10 million in damages.
“These defamatory statements have permanently maligned Former Judge Napolitano’s formerly pristine reputation – which he has spent decades building – as a highly regarded lawyer and respected jurist,” the countersuit, filed on Tuesday in U.S. District Court for New Jersey, states.
Jon Norinsberg, Corbishley’s attorney, dismissed Napolitano’s lawsuit as “outrageous” and “patently frivolous.”
“At the end of the day, we’re going to expose the truth of what really happened here,” Norinsberg said.
Corbishley alleges his defense attorney in the arson and burglary case sent him to Napolitano’s Hackensack home in December 1988 with instructions to bring the judge a Christmas card and shovel his driveway.
When Corbishley arrived at the house, Napolitano came out wearing a long trench coat, made small talk and said, “You know, you could be going away for a long time,” according to Corbishley’s complaint. Napolitano then allegedly pushed Corbishley to his knees and told him to “be a good boy.”
Corbishley says the judge treated him leniently after the assault, sentencing Corbishley to probation and community service while Corbishley’s co-defendant received a prison sentence for the same crimes, according to the lawsuit.
Napolitano refuted the accusations in his countersuit, describing Corbishley as a “convicted felon with a criminal record that spans three decades” who made a “run of the mill” appearance in Napolitano’s court.
He denies privately meeting with Corbishley and says he was living in a high-rise, not a house with a driveway, in 1988.
Napolitano alleges Corbishley spent almost a year attempting to extort a financial payout from him by threatening to publicize the alleged sexual assault in a lawsuit. Corbishley filed the suit last week in New York Southern District court despite receiving evidence contradicting his claims, the countersuit states.
Napolitano believes Corbishley wrongly and purposely sued him in New York to maximize media coverage of the lawsuit. The former judge filed a motion on Monday to move the case to New Jersey, arguing he does not live in New York City as Corbishley’s lawsuit alleges. Napolitano says he owns an apartment in the city but has resided in Sussex County since 2001.
Norinsberg, Corbishley’s attorney, said Wednesday that Napolitano improperly filed his countersuit in New Jersey without waiting for a ruling on the motion.
Napolitano accused Corbishley’s lawyers of mobilizing a media firestorm against him in an “unashamed attempt to try the case in the court of public opinion.” He says the publicity has exposed him to public scorn and ridicule, impugned his professional standing and irreparably damaged his relationships, according to the countersuit. He is seeking unspecified damages.
Napolitano served as a Superior Court judge in Bergen County from 1987 to 1995 and was the youngest state judge to be granted lifetime tenure. When he was 44, Napolitano left the bench for private practice partly because he believed judges were not paid enough and should be allowed to earn outside income. He now works as a legal analyst for Fox News.
Svetlana Shkolnikova covers local news and Superior Court in Morris County for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from criminal trials to local lawsuits and insightful analysis, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.