Death of ex-clerk who donned judge's robes suspected suicide

Police say the death of a former law clerk days before her Chicago trial for impersonating a judge is being investigated as a suicide.

The coroner has said 46-year-old Rhonda Crawford was found dead at her Calumet City home Thursday. Police Chief Christopher Fletcher says it's being treated as an apparent suicide but offered no details.

Crawford described becoming a judge as a "lifelong ambition." But her dream unraveled in 2016 after winning a primary for a Cook County judgeship. She'd been shadowing judges to learn the job when she accepted an actual judge's offer to wear robes and hear traffic cases.

She won the general election but was barred from being sworn in. The 2016 incident eventually led charges of misconduct and impersonation. Trial was to begin Monday.