Judge calls gubernatorial candidate 'self-centered' during heated exchange

A Lake County judge and Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Grayson “Kash” Jackson squared off in a shouting match Monday during a contentious court hearing involving child visitation and support issues.

Judge Joseph Salvi called Jackson “self-centered” and “egotistical,” and Jackson said Salvi should recuse himself from the case. The pair also traded edgy comments about the campaign for the state's top elected office.

The fireworks started when Jackson, who was named Benjamin Winderweedle before a legal name change in 2017, said in court he wants parenting time with his daughter, whom he has not seen in more than five months. He has one son from a first marriage and a daughter and son from a second.

Salvi agreed to grant the request but pushed to schedule the initial meeting between the two at a neutral family visitation center.

Jackson, who is from Antioch, balked. That prompted Salvi to question whether Jackson would show up to the meeting.

“If I say you can see your daughter two or three times a week, will you show up?” Salvi asked, adding “this governor thing is taking up a lot of your time.”

Jackson, who was named the Libertarian candidate in March, shot back that he didn't choose to run for governor, but rather Salvi “forced me to do it,” and added “I will not be treated as a second-class citizen.”

A shouting match started as Salvi questioned Jackson's statement he was “forced” to run, and Jackson reiterated the legal system is rigged against him. The argument ended when Salvi threatened to incarcerate Jackson for contempt of court.

“I handle over 650 cases in this courthouse, and I have never met someone as self-centered or egotistical as you,” Salvi said.

Parental rights is a key campaign issue for Jackson, who has claimed he is running because his rights have been ignored.

Jackson was in court because he owes $6,067 in fees to his ex-wife for child support, education and other related expenses. Salvi told Jackson in May at least $3,067 needed to be paid by Monday or Jackson would be jailed.

He told Salvi the money was paid through a third-party internet child support program. Salvi agreed to wait two weeks to see if the payment surfaces.

Jackson has said he is unemployed and living exclusively on disability and pension payments from serving in the Navy for 20 years. He's said in court he takes home about $4,500 a month from those benefits.

Payments for his children total about $2,500 per month, about 40 percent of his monthly take-home payment from the Navy, he said.

Salvi said previously it is “illogical” Jackson can't keep up with his child support payments between the money he takes home from the government and any employment income he may make.

The courtroom exchange over visitation came shortly after Jackson said Salvi should recuse himself from the case because Salvi's brother — Al Salvi — mentioned on social media Jackson should turn down the Libertarian nomination and let Al Salvi run. Joseph Salvi said Jackson should file a motion for recusal and have that argument heard in court at a later date.

The two sides agreed to return to court Aug. 23.

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