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Impeached federal judge to resign at end of month

[JURIST] Impeached federal judge Samuel Kent [JURIST news archive] on Thursday resigned [press release] from his seat on the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas [official website] effective at the end of June. Kent's resignation comes a day after US Senate [official website] began impeachment trial proceedings [JURIST report] against him, alleging that he sexually harassed his secretary and case manager, obstructed a judicial proceeding by making false statements, and made false and misleading statements to federal agents during his investigation. The articles of impeachment [text, PDF] against Kent were approved [JURIST report] by the US House of Representatives [official website] last week. Kent is the first federal judge to be impeached in 20 years and only the thirteenth federal judge to be impeached.

Earlier this month, Kent submitted a letter of resignation [JURIST report] that would have been effective June 2010, allowing him to collect his $174,000 annual salary and full health benefits until then. In May, Kent pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to obstruction of justice in a plea agreement [text, PDF] that prevented him from facing a criminal trial. Following his plea, he was sentenced [JURIST report] to 33 months in prison and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and $6,500 in restitution.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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