WHITEHALL, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A Whitehall judge has been removed from the bench after he allegedly pulled a gun on a defendant in court. In a decision dated September 9, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct decided to remove Robert Putorti from his position as judge.

According to the court documents, in late 2015 or early 2016, Putorti allegedly pointed a loaded semi-automatic handgun at a defendant who was scheduled for a hearing in Putori’s courtroom that day. Putorti originally said that he pulled the gun because he feared for his safety, but he later said there was no reason for him to think the defendant was going to use deadly force against him.

The court documents further said that Putorti later gave an informal interview to his cousin, a journalism student, where he described how he carries a concealed weapon while presiding on the bench. He also mentioned how he pointed his handgun in court at a defendant, as well as told other judges that he had once pointed his handgun in the courthouse at a person he described as a “large Black man.”

“A courtroom is no place for a judge to brandish or point a gun at a litigant,” said the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct in its decision.

In addition, a second complaint alleged that Putorti personally participated in soliciting funds or other fundraising activities for his own personal benefit and for the Whitehall Elks Lodge from October 2019 to October 2020. He often shared and promoted fundraising posts on his personal Facebook page.

Putorti has been a justice of Whitehall Town Court since January 1, 2014. In June 2014, he was appointed as an acting justice of Whitehall Village Court and was elected as a justice of that court in April 2018. Putorti is not an attorney. His terms in both courts were originally set to expire in 2025.