CNN reports that a House Judiciary Committee task force unanimously approved four articles of impeachment against United States District Judge Samuel B. Kent of Texas on the grounds of sexual assault, obstruction of justice and providing false statements to federal investigators.
In February, Judge Kent plead guilty to lying to federal investigators about non-consensual sexual contact with two employees in his courthouse. As a result, Judge Kent was sentenced to 33 months in prison and began serving his sentence Monday. He was further ordered to undergo treatment for alcoholism while in prison. The other counts alleging sexual misconduct were dropped as part of the plea agreement.
As if his conduct alone did not make it easy enough for the House Judiciary Committee to impeach him, Judge Kent submitted his resignation effective June 1, 2010, meaning he would be paid approximately $174,000 while serving out his prison sentence.
Needless to say, this drew a heated response from the impeachment committee. Prior to the vote, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, told House members that this was "an attempt to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from the American people."
There were no dissenting votes to impeach Judge Kent.
His impeachment is not the end of the line for Judge Kent. The Senate will make a decision on whether to convict Judge Kent. A conviction would mean he would lose his seat on the federal bench and his pension.
FYI: Judge Kent was the first federal judge to be charged with sexual crimes while in office and the 14th to be impeached by the House.
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