US House impeaches judge over sexual assault charges

June 20th, 2009 - 7:51 am ICT by IANS  

Houston, June 20 (Xinhua) The US House of Representatives Friday voted unanimously to impeach a federal judge imprisoned for lying about sexual assault of two female court employees.
The vote on the impeachment of US District Court Judge Samuel B. Kent of Texas is the first such vote since the impeachment of former president Bill Clinton a decade ago, and Kent is the first US federal judge impeached in 20 years, media reports said.

The House overwhelmingly adopted four articles of impeachment against the 59-year-old jurist, who was accused of abusing his power as a judge by sexually assaulting two female court employees and lying about his conduct to a judicial inquiry by the FBI and the Justice Department.

Kent entered a federal prison in Massachusetts Monday to serve a 33-month sentence. He is the first US federal judge to serve prison sentence. He pleaded guilty last month to lying to judicial investigators about sexual assault of two female employees.

Kent, who has served in his post since 1990, is refusing to resign until next year so he can continue to draw his $174,000 annual salary.

The case was sent to the Senate for trial. If convicted of the impeachment charges in the Senate, Kent will be forced off the bench and cut off federal salary.

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