- Associated Press - Sunday, December 20, 2015

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - An Ann Arbor judge who was stripped of his courtroom duties last summer because of unflattering text messages says he’s been on paid medical leave since August.

District Court Judge Christopher Easthope tells The Ann Arbor News (http://bit.ly/1O1nYou ) that he’s recovering from a surgery that was scheduled in 2014. He declined to elaborate.

Text messages between Easthope and Nader Nassif revealed that the two were drinking buddies who had smoked marijuana. They also suggest that Easthope helped Nassif’s law firm get a $203,000 contract with Ann Arbor.

Chief Judge Elizabeth Pollard Hines called the text messages “disturbing.” She barred him from hearing cases last July, although Easthope continued to draw his $138,000 salary.

Easthope is quitting at the end of December. He’s apologized for the messages.

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Information from: The Ann Arbor News, http://www.mlive.com/ann-arbor

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