FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A former Broward County judge has been disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court for texting with a prosecutor during a murder trial.
"I've given everything up, including one of the things I love the most -- my job," former chief criminal Judge Ana Gardiner tearfully testified at her Florida Bar trial.
Gardiner was accused of lying under oath about her relationship with a prosecutor.
"Nothing has ever interfered with my job because that has been my life," Gardiner testified.
Gardiner was found guilty of lying and Thursday the state Supreme Court handed down its punishment -- disbarment.
Prosecutor Sheila Alu first came forward about Gardiner's improper relationship with homicide prosecutor Howard Scheinberg during a murder trial in her courtroom, alleging they discussed the trial while partying together.
A judicial investigation began in which Gardiner and Scheinberg denied discussing the trial or having a close, personal relationship. Then came the revelation they had secretly shared more than 1,400 phone calls and text messages during that death penalty trial.
Gardiner has since married her defense attorney in the Bar investigation, David Bogenschutz.
Scheinberg is serving a two-year suspension of his law license.
The court mentioned the cost of Gardiner's wrongdoing to the public, including the cost of a new trial for the defendant.
Attempts to reach Gardiner were unsuccessful as sources told Local 10 she and Bogenschutz are vacationing in Europe.