Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has jumped into the Chad Johnson fray, saying that the Broward County judge who sentenced the former Miami Dolphins receiver to 30 days in the pokey overreacted.
Johnson, 35, was sent to jail Monday after he patted the behind of his attorney, Adam Swickle, while Judge Katie McHugh praised Swickle for his work in hammering out a plea bargain in Johnson’s violation of probation charge.
McHugh, however, rescinded the plea offer when the courtroom erupted in laughter. She sent Johnson to the big house.
Now, Bondi, a Republican, says McHugh’s move had more to do with her temper than Johnson’s wrongdoing.
“Although we never condone domestic violence, this event seems to question judicial temperament, not the subject matter before the court,” Bondi told the Los Angeles gossip website TMZ.
While Bondi has been generally supportive of those fighting against domestic violence, her words rattled cages at the Fort Lauderdale courthouse — as much because she’s openly talking about an unfinished case as she’s taking on a well-respected rookie judge.
Said Chief Judge Peter Weinstein: “It’s not appropriate for me to comment about a pending case, but in general, the 17th Judicial Circuit Court takes domestic violence very seriously.”
Johnson originally got in trouble for head-butting ex-wife Evelyn Lozada during an argument over condoms last summer.
He was sentenced to one year probation — which he allegedly violated last month by not showing up for probation meetings and not completing counseling.
Bondi, by the way, has yet to respond to inquiries from legitimate news organizations about the reasons for her involvement in Johnson’s case.
The out-of-work receiver is scheduled to be back before McHugh on Monday for a motion to reduce his time in jail.
The genteel world of opera has been gripped by NBA Finals fever.
The Miami-based Florida Grand Opera and the Opera Piccola of San Antonio are entangled in a grudge match that will be resolved only once either the Heat or the Spurs are named champs.
The two companies have wagered a recital on the series.
A yet-to-be-named emerging artist from the losing city’s opera will travel to the winner’s building to perform a concert — free of charge and open to the general public.
Grand Opera Spokeswoman Alex Serna said the artist chosen would depending on summer schedules.
The repertoire of the loser’s free concert, by the way, will be decided by popular demand on Twitter at #NBAOperaFinals.
AND FINALLY ...
... Johnson wasn’t the only former Dolphins receiver in the slammer this week. James McKnight was arrested by Broward Sheriff’s deputies at home in Southwest Ranches after they responded to a domestic violence call. McKnight was wrestled to the ground before he was cuffed. It’s the second time in two years he was nabbed during arguments with wife Mikki ... Men in Black star Tommy Lee Jones has chosen sides. Jones winters in South Florida, routinely appearing in fundraising society galas in the Miami area. But the Texas-bred Jones was at the NBA Finals Game 3 Tuesday night clad in San Antonio black. ... Golfer Greg Norman is ready to kiss a million bucks goodbye. The Shark has put seven acres in the heart of Boca Raton up for sale for $6 million. He bought the place for $7 million in 2006, when he was wooing Boca tennis hero Chris Evert. He eventually married but then divorced Evert and no longer needs the property.