Hater Scandal: Prosecutors Have 200,000 Emails. The KastaWatch Account Is Linked to Ziobro’s Ministry


Journalist covering law and politics for OKO.press. Previously journalist at Gazeta Wyborcza, Rzeczpospolita, Polska The Times, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.


Investigation by OKO.press and TVN24: Documents with judges’ data were taken from the Ministry of Justice, where the KastaWatch account was created to discredit judges. We have evidence of an orchestrated attack on Judge Waldemar Żurek and indications that Zbigniew Ziobro knew about it.   OKO.PRESS and TVN24 journalist Marta Gordziewicz have obtained new evidence […]

Investigation by OKO.press and TVN24: Documents with judges’ data were taken from the Ministry of Justice, where the KastaWatch account was created to discredit judges. We have evidence of an orchestrated attack on Judge Waldemar Żurek and indications that Zbigniew Ziobro knew about it.


OKO.PRESS and TVN24 journalist Marta Gordziewicz have obtained new evidence confirming the hater scandal**, revealing previously unknown aspects of this shocking affair that involved discrediting independent judges from 2018-2019 who defended the rule of law under PiS rule.


Details of our findings are published simultaneously on OKO.press and TVN24. On Monday, June 3, 2024, at 8:30 PM, TVN24’s “Czarno na białym” will air Marta Gordziewicz’s report.


We have found that the prosecutor’s office has strong evidence to press criminal charges against those involved in the hater scandal. This includes not only Emilia Szmydt aka “Little Emi,” who spread hate against judges and later exposed the scandal as a whistleblower and paradoxically is the only one currently facing charges.


The prosecutor’s office also has material to charge judges associated with Ziobro’s ministry.
Our information indicates that prosecutors have several hundred thousand different messages previously secured from email accounts, computers, and judges’ phones, including around 200,000 emails, mostly from the private account of former Deputy Justice Minister Łukasz Piebiak, who was a key figure in the scandal and referred to as “Chief” by associated judges.


Emails also contained sensitive data on independent judges. Piebiak was a central figure in the hater scandal, with judges associated with him addressing him as “Chief”.


Emails of “Little Emi”, Judge Arkadiusz Cichocki from Gliwice, former neo-judge of the illegal Disciplinary Chamber Konrad Wytrykowski (now retired and receiving a high pension), Deputy Disciplinary Spokesman Przemysław Radzik, neo-KRS member Rafał Puchalski, and Warsaw judge Jakub Iwaniec were also secured.


**A shocking new revelation is that the hater profile KastaWatch on Twitter (now platform X), used to attack independent judges, was created in the Ministry of Justice in November 2018 from a computer with an IP address assigned to the Ministry.** The prosecutor’s office is determining who was behind the account.


This account played a significant role in spreading hate against independent judges. It was created when “Little Emi” withdrew and later exposed the entire operation. Documents from the so-called “green folders” (judges’ personal files at the ministry) were posted on KastaWatch. Metadata of photos show these documents were photographed in a park near the ministry, possibly Ujazdowski Park.


Access to these green folders is limited. Our information suggests that former Deputy Justice Minister Łukasz Piebiak had the most frequent access to them.


How Radzik Passed Information to Piebiak About Żurek’s Cases


According to information obtained by OKO.press and TVN24, details from disciplinary proceedings against judges were intended for media attacks. This includes disciplinary cases against Judge Waldemar Żurek from the District Court in Krakow, who has been critical of PiS’s judicial reforms since they came to power.


As a spokesman for the old, legal KRS (dissolved by PiS at the beginning of 2018), Żurek became one of the top enemies of PiS in the judiciary and the most persecuted judge in Poland for defending the judiciary.


According to OKO.press and TVN24, Deputy Disciplinary Spokesman Przemysław Radzik sent Deputy Justice Minister Łukasz Piebiak information about Żurek’s cases for media use. These communications included the private email of Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, raising questions about his awareness of the smear campaign against judges, which he has previously denied.


We obtained messages exchanged about Judge Żurek. On July 5, 2019, at 3:25 PM, Radzik sent a private email to Piebiak with an attachment “Żurek’s Charges”, a draft decision from the same day regarding disciplinary proceedings against Żurek for an interview with Prawo.pl. Żurek was accused of undermining the status and criticizing neo-Supreme Court judge Kamil Zaradkiewicz.


On July 8, 2019, the second Deputy Disciplinary Spokesman Michał Lasota sent an email from his official account to Radzik’s official account detailing cases for potential disciplinary actions against Żurek, titled “Knur” (a derogatory term used for Żurek).


Lasota listed:

– Żurek’s allowances as a KRS member while working in the Krakow District Court.
– Alleged threats against former Vice-President of the Krakow District Court Mieczysław Potejko.
– Sale of an old tractor, investigated by CBA for tax compliance.
– Refusal to adjudicate in a new civil division to which he was forcibly transferred by President Pawełczyk-Woicka in 2018.
– Critical media statements about Ziobro’s reforms and meetings with citizens considered political.

Planning Media Attacks on Żurek



Radzik sent Lasota’s information about Żurek’s cases to his private email and immediately forwarded it to Piebiak with an attachment detailing Żurek’s cases. Radzik’s email was titled “Żumomin” and included derogatory comments about Żurek.


Piebiak forwarded Radzik’s email to Ziobro’s private email four minutes later. This suggests that Ziobro was informed about the attacks on Żurek.


In late July 2019, Piebiak emailed Piotr Bugajski, a media advisor for Ziobro’s ministry, asking if any progress was made. Piebiak suggested “heating up the media on Żurek” because of his escalating threats against judges on their side.


Bugajski replied on July 25, 2019, that they needed more information to avoid portraying Żurek as a martyr and suggested focusing on alleged unjustified allowances and unpaid tractor tax.


Background of the Hater Scandal


The hater scandal broke in August 2019, shortly after the media strategy against Żurek was devised. It was exposed by journalist Magda Gałczyńska from Onet, revealing how Emilia Szmydt, as “Little Emi,” spread hate against judges defending the rule of law.


“Little Emi” had access to sensitive information about judges through her husband Tomasz Szmydt, a judge in the Warsaw Administrative Court who worked in the Ministry of Justice and later in the neo-KRS. Tomasz Szmydt recently fled to Belarus and is wanted by Polish prosecutors.


“Little Emi” was in contact with Deputy Justice Minister Łukasz Piebiak, Judge Arkadiusz Cichocki from Gliwice, and Warsaw judge Jakub Iwaniec. She also had contact with other judges collaborating with Ziobro’s ministry, including Konrad Wytrykowski, Michał Lasota, Przemysław Radzik, and neo-KRS members Rafał Puchalski and Maciej Mitera.


In the second half of 2018, “Little Emi” had a falling out with her husband and Cichocki, leading her to distance herself from judges around Piebiak. In 2019, she decided to expose the entire operation and became a whistleblower.


After Onet’s exposé, Piebiak lost his position in Ziobro’s ministry, and judges involved in the scandal returned to their courts.


In April 2022, OKO.press and Onet revealed more details of the scandal, confirmed by Judges Arkadiusz Cichocki and Tomasz Szmydt. They testified in Parliament’s special committee, formed by the then-opposition.


Prosecutors’ Investigation of the Hater Scandal


Currently, there are two ongoing investigations into the hater scandal. The first began at the Warsaw District Prosecutor’s Office, later moved to the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Lublin, and since 2021, is with the Świdnica District Prosecutor’s Office.


No charges were filed during PiS’s rule. Only in December 2023, after a change in power in Poland, were criminal charges prepared for “Little Emi” in Świdnica, but not announced as she had moved to the UK post-divorce.


In March 2024, the investigation was taken over by the Wrocław Regional Prosecutor’s Office, after a leadership change at the National Prosecutor’s Office, removing Ziobro’s trusted Dariusz Barski.


A three-member investigative team is currently handling the case, with approximately 50 judges identified as victims of the hater scandal. The prosecutor’s office is also investigating why no charges were filed earlier despite strong evidence.


The second investigation is at the Kielce-East District Prosecutor’s Office, initiated by Judge Waldemar Żurek, who was also targeted by “Little Emi” and two hater accounts on Twitter, FigoFago and Jacob. The case was dismissed in October 2021, but the Katowice court ordered a reopening in March 2023.


Current Status of Involved Parties


Former Deputy Justice Minister Łukasz Piebiak is now an ordinary judge in the Warsaw District Court and is involved with the Lawyers for Poland association, posing as a defender of the rule of law.


Przemysław Radzik and Michał Lasota remain deputy disciplinary spokesmen. In 2024, Minister Bodnar removed Lasota as president of the Olsztyn District Court and Radzik as vice-president of the Poznań Court of Appeal. Both received high promotions from neo-KRS as appellate judges in Warsaw.


Jakub Iwaniec is an ordinary judge in the Warsaw-Mokotów District Court and a deputy disciplinary spokesman at the Warsaw District Court.


Rafał Puchalski, who assisted “Little Emi” in drafting the smear campaign against Iustitia’s president, remains a neo-KRS member and president of the Rzeszów Court of Appeal. Neo-KRS nominated him as a neo-judge of the Rzeszów Court of Appeal.



Journalist covering law and politics for OKO.press. Previously journalist at Gazeta Wyborcza, Rzeczpospolita, Polska The Times, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.



June 6, 2024


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