New Jersey Superior Court Judge, Gary Wilcox, is under investigation after he allegedly posted TikTok videos of himself lip-synching provocative lyrics to pop and hip-hop songs in his court chambers.
According to The Washington Post, the Supreme Court’s advisory committee on judicial conduct in a formal complaint on June 30 stated that Wilcox’s actions tarnished the image of the New Jersey judiciary. The committee also alleged Wilcox contravened the court’s standards of conduct, painting a picture of impropriety and performing unauthorized activities that degraded the office.
The complaint alleged that Wilcox, who went by the name “Sal Tortorella” on TikTok, lip-synched songs with lyrics containing violence, sex, and misogyny. He allegedly recorded some of the videos while in bed and not fully dressed.
In one of the videos that Wilcox, 58, recorded in his chambers, the judge is seen lip-synching R&B singer Miguel’s “Sure Thing” song while in possession of cash, the complaint stated. He also pretends to put a match stick on fire.
Wilcox also lip-synched Rihanna’s “Jump” song and mimed the lyrics: “If you want it, let’s do it. Ride it, my pony. My saddle is waitin’, come and jump on it.” Other songs Wilcox recorded himself playing included rapper Nas’ “Get Down” and Busta Rhyme’s “Touch It.” Nas’ song makes reference to a courthouse shooting while “Touch It” has sexual lyrics, the complaint stated.
Wilcox is said to have uploaded 40 videos between April 2021 and March 2023, the complaint stated, adding that he also shared a post after his follower count rose to 100, per The Washington Post.
The committee determined that eleven of the videos the judge shared contained violent, sexual, and misogynistic lyrics; stating that Wilcox’s chambers, as well as the courthouse, were seen in the videos – adding that he also wore his robes or wasn’t fully dressed.
“By his conduct in posting these and similar videos to TikTok, [Wilcox] exhibited poor judgment and demonstrated disrespect for the Judiciary,” the complaint stated.
However, Wilcox’s attorney, Robert Hille, denied his client shared the videos with the aim of causing any harm. He also described the artists Wilcox played in his videos as mainstream, and the judge enjoying their music did not mean he was in support of everything said in the lyrics.
“I don’t think that at the end of the day, anybody is going to believe there was any desire to do any harm here,” Hille told The New York Times. “Hindsight is 20-20.” Speaking to Law&Crime, Hille also explained that Wilcox was “an excellent and hard-working judge,” disclosing that all the videos have since been deleted.
Wilcox was sworn in as a New Jersey Superior Court judge in 2011 and currently oversees criminal cases in the Bergen County district. A hearing for Wilcox will be held after he officially responds to the committee’s allegations; which Hille said is being worked on. The disciplinary actions that Wilcox faces include reprimand or removal from the bench.