CHICAGO – Illinois prosecutors charged a Chicago man with a hate crime after they said he spat at and slapped a black judge.
An assistant state's attorney told the Chicago Sun-Times that David Nicosia told Judge Arnette Hubbard he wanted her to stop smoking outside a Chicago courthouse. The attorney said Nicosia called the 79-year-old judge "Rosa Parks" and spat in her face.
A county sheriff's spokeswoman said 55-year-old Nicosia walked away but Hubbard followed and confronted him. She said Nicosia spit on Hubbard again before slapping the judge's face.
"She's pretty shaken up about it," said Geraldine Simmons, a friend and fellow attorney who spoke with Hubbard after the incident Tuesday. "I can't even begin to imagine what she's going through psychologically. How do you recover from something like that?"
Nicosia's attorney, Steven Goldman, said Wednesday his client denies the incident happened as prosecutors described it. He said he will try to get video surveillance from the Daley Center Plaza, where it happened.
Hubbard was the first woman elected to head the National Bar Association and the Cook County Bar Association. The civil rights advocate also helped pave the way for women in the male-dominated field of law, Simmons said.
Nicosia is also charged with several counts of aggravated battery. He was ordered held on $90,000 bail.