He is being investigated for improper judicial conduct after his full name and personal cell phone number appeared on a list of clients from a Denver prostitution business.
The business called Denver Players or Denver Sugar was shut down in January after IRS and Denver Police investigators served search warrants at the brothel on Fillmore Street.
Nottingham ascended to chief judge in 2007 and presided over the insider trading trial of Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio.
9NEWS legal analyst Scott Robinson says Judge Nottingham faces serious repercussions if these latest allegations about him are proven true.
"Judge Nottingham faces the possibility of impeachment and that is for high crimes or misdemeanors under the constitution," said Robinson.
A nearly two-year joint investigation into the prostitution service by the IRS and the Denver Police led to the execution of a search warrant at the home of Denver Players owner Brenda Stewart of Denver on Jan. 25. Stewart has not been arrested or charged for any crime involved in the case.
Court documents show investigators confiscated computers, financial records, client books, credit card receipts and other items from Stewart's home at 1305 Monaco Parkway in Denver. Some employees also kept copies of some of the transactions.
Sources tell 9Wants to Know the agency catered to prominent clients including judges, lawyers, businessmen, athletes and politicians.
Nottingham's is the first prominent name to be uncovered since 9Wants to Know broke the story last month.
A man who had been hired to drive Denver Players prostitutes to meet clients, including Nottingham, talked exclusively to 9Wants to Know.
The driver spoke to 9NEWS on the condition of anonymity. 9NEWS has verified his identity and that he has no criminal record in Colorado. The driver has signed an affidavit confirming the information he told 9NEWS and says he would testify in court regarding his story.
The driver told 9NEWS he took prostitutes to meet Judge Nottingham at two locations in the Denver area about 10 times during the summer of 2007.
The driver says the prostitutes would mention Judge Nottingham by name before and after their appointments with him and frequently referred to the judge by his nickname: "Naughty."
The driver described one conversation with a prostitute about Nottingham. "She was like, well, 'It's Naughty.' I said, 'Who's that?' She said, 'A federal judge.' She said, 'He's on some big trials and stuff like that.'"
The driver also told 9NEWS he met the judge in person, then later looked him up on the Internet and saw his picture.
The driver says he saw Judge Nottingham outside the condo complex on Steele Street interacting with the prostitutes several times.
"They always seemed pretty affectionate, you would almost think they were a couple by the way that they acted together," the driver told 9NEWS. "They would hug each other and almost kiss on the cheek and then they would go inside."
The driver says the women returned from their meeting with the judge with $300 or $400 in cash per visit.
Ethical complaints about judges are made to the Circuit Executive of the Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.
Victoria Parks, the deputy circuit executive at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals would not confirm an investigation into Judge Nottingham.
Parks did describe to 9NEWS the process the court takes in investigating a high-ranking judge.
Parks says the chief appellate judge of the Circuit Court decides if a complaint should be investigated or dismissed. If 10th Circuit Chief Judge Robert Henry decides to pursue a case, he could appoint a special committee to investigate the complaint. When investigations are completed, the Circuit Court releases a disposition statement that describes the allegations and the actions taken against the judge. However, the judge's name is redacted completely from the disposition.
In 2007, the 10th Circuit Court released 75 dispositions.
This is the third investigation by the 10th Circuit Court of appeals into Judge Nottingham's conduct in the past year.
The first began last August when 9Wants to Know obtained court records into the judge's behavior at Denver strip clubs.
9NEWS reported that Nottingham testified during his divorce he had spent more than $3,000 at a Denver strip club in just two days and that he was "too drunk to remember" how he'd spent the money.
Divorce proceedings started shortly after Nottingham's ex-wife Marci Jaeger discovered questionable charges on his credit card bills.
Judge Nottingham testified, "I'm ashamed and mortified just telling you that is the Diamond Cabaret… a topless establishment."
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals also has an open investigation into a ticket Judge Nottingham received for illegally parking in a handicapped parking spot last fall.
The judge was ticketed by Denver Police after a disabled woman discovered his vehicle did not have the proper handicapped parking placard or license plate.
Jeanne Elliott is a former lawyer who became disabled after she was shot by a client's husband during a court hearing inside the Arapahoe County courthouse in 1986.
Elliott filed a complaint against Judge Nottingham with the 10th Circuit to complain in September 2007.
Elliott wrote in her complaint that the judge not only parked illegally in the handicapped spot, but also threatened to call U.S. Marshals on her when she refused to move out of his way.
"And then he put the car in reverse, because I could tell from back-up lights going on and I thought, 'Oh boy, he's going to back over me,'" Elliott told 9NEWS in an interview last October.
Robinson says these cases should not affect any of the cases Nottingham has heard or will hear in the future. However, Robinson says, the appearance of impropriety will follow Nottingham for years.
"Litigants and lawyers who appear before Judge Nottingham from this point on may always have some lingering thought in the back of their mind that he should not be a judge," Robinson told 9NEWS. "But that is only justifiable if in fact these allegations are proven to be true."
Judge Nottingham has not responded to numerous attempts for comment on this story.
Nottingham's attorney Stephen Peters had no comment about the allegations and said he has not been notified of an official investigation.
"We are not aware of any investigation against the judge," said Peters. "We have not been notified of any investigation by the 10th Circuit Court."
U.S. Attorney Troy Eid also had no comment about any investigation.
"As required by Justice Department policy, I cannot confirm or deny the existence of any criminal investigation," said Eid.
The Denver Police also had no comment.
A federal grand jury is investigating the Denver Players escort service for the IRS.
Judge Nottingham was appointed to the federal bench in 1989 by President George H. W. Bush. It is a lifetime appointment.
When Judge Nottingham presided over the insider-trading trial of Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio last summer, he lectured Nacchio about morality.
"If it is perceived that there is one law for the rich and one law for everyone else, the law ultimately falls into disrespect," said Judge Edward Nottingham to Nacchio. "The law does not care about your station in life."
(Copyright KUSA*TV. All rights reserved.)