Harvard-educated judge, 59, claims he didn’t know his TikTok was public after posting ‘inappropriate’ videos from his bed and chambers singing Nas and Busta Rhymes songs – with some containing ‘sexual and racist language’

A Harvard-educated judge has claimed he did not know his TikTok was public after posting ‘inappropriate’ videos online.

Gary Wilcox, 59, from New Jersey, was busted for sharing clips of him rapping songs by Nas, Busta Rhymes and Miguel while in bed or his chambers.

Some of the songs contained racist, sexist and sexual language, and the judicial conduct committee ruled 11 out of the 40 he shared were ‘inappropriate’.

But Wilcox, who used the pseudonym Sal Tortorella between March 2021 and April 2023, claimed he had not realized he was allowing anyone to view his content.

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Gary N. Wilcox, 59, used the pseudonym Sal Tortella and posted up to 40 videos of himself lip-syncing lyrics from popular rap songs, where some included references to violence, sex and misogyny

On Friday he responded with a 21-page verified answer to a formal complaint filed against him by the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct on July 1.

Disciplinary Counsel Maureen Bauman charged the judge with violating three judicial canons.

Wilcox acknowledged his behavior was questionable and ‘inappropriate’ but claimed it could have been avoided if someone had told him his videos were not private.

He now faces a hearing that could lead to admonition or dismissal from the bench.

The complaint alleged Wilcox’s decision to post the TikTok videos showed ‘poor judgment and demonstrated disrespect for the judiciary and an inability to conform to the high standards of conduct expected of judges.’

He posted up to 40 clips lip-syncing lyrics from popular rappers, such as ‘Get Down’ by Nas, ‘Touch It’ by Busta Rhymes and ‘Sure Thing’ by Miguel.

The Supreme Court building  in New Jersey where Judge Gary Wilcox, 59, resided

The Supreme Court building  in New Jersey where Judge Gary Wilcox, 59, resided 

Some references were made to violence, sex, misogyny and racist language. Eleven of the videos were deemed inappropriate by the judicial conduct committee.

In some of the videos, the judge is seen in his judicial robes. One showed him in bed while others featured him in his chambers.

Wilcox stated in the document: ‘Respondent admits to utilizing the platform, but does not consider himself an expert in its use and in customizing an account.’

He continued: ‘He did not know the significance of what ‘public’ meant in TikTok’s posting context.’

According to the court documents, at least 11 of the videos, the lyrics or Wilcox’s appearance ‘brought disrepute to the judiciary.’

He filmed himself in some of the videos in chambers or the courthouse, wearing judicial robes, or ‘partially dressed lying in bed.’

Pictured: Busta Rhymes and Nas during a 2006 event that was held at the Capital in New York

Pictured: Busta Rhymes and Nas during a 2006 event that was held at the Capital in New York 

Wilcox did the recordings on his personal cell phone and during his personal time, when he was not at work.

He believed ‘the setting allowed viewing beyond himself to include family, friends, and people who sought to connect with him who he permitted.

‘He never intended for the posting to be seen by the public at large,’ but only later changed the designation for his videos to ‘friends only’ or ‘followers only.’

His TikTok account is no longer active and he stated in the court document that he has no plans on renewing the account.

It is unclear who exactly filed the complaint against Wilcox as he only had few followers or if his videos had any impact prior to the July 1 complaint. 

Wilcox’s lawyer Robert Hille told NewJersey.com ‘we have no idea who filed the complaint.’ He added: ‘We do not think there was any underlying motive.’

Wilcox, a criminal judge in Bergen County, has been a Superior Court judge since 2011, and was admitted to the New Jersey bar more than three decades ago.

Regarding the charges he is facing, Wilcox argued any discipline ‘should not be greater than a reprimand.’

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