Entries in G. Thomas Porteous Jr. (2)


Senate Convicts Impeached Federal Judge G. Thomas Porteous

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Serving as the first impeachment jury of the century, the Senate on Wednesday convicted a U.S. district judge accused of taking thousands of dollars in bribes, making G. Thomas Porteous only the eighth federal judge ever removed from the bench by Congress.

Porteous sat silently in the well of the chamber as 96 Senators stood one by one to announce their verdicts of "guilty" or "not guilty" on four articles of impeachment.

Porteous, a 63-year-old New Orleans native, was impeached by the House in March, accused of taking cash, gifts, and services in exchange for favors to lawyers and bondsmen appearing in his court. His defense claimed that many of the accused crimes took place while Porteous was a state judge.

"He was not only a corrupt state judge, but would become a corrupt federal judge as well," said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., head of the House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Judicial Impeachment.

Much as happens in the impeachment and trial of a president, the House brings charges -- or impeaches -- federal judges, but it is the Senate's job to try and convict those judges.

The Senate unanimously voted 96-0 to convict on the first article of impeachment, which involved receiving cash bribes from lawyers. The chamber voted with large majorities for "guilty" on the remaining charges and barred him from ever again holding federal office.

The prosecution's witnesses included two lawyers who admitted they stuffed an envelope with $2,000 in cash in 1999, before Porteous settled a civil case in their favor. There was also a bail bondsman who admitted to buying the judge lavish meals and sending him on trips to get bonds set as high as possible for his clients.

Porteous' lead attorney did not dispute many of the charges, but argued they did not meet the "high crimes and misdemeanors" standard for impeachment. Lawyer Jonathan Turley also said practices, such as accepting favors and e-mails were common in the Louisiana legal community.

"We're obviously disappointed with the result," said his other attorney, Daniel Schwartz, after the verdict.

Porteous will be removed from office immediately. He will also lose the pension, equal to his $174,000 salary, he would have earned had he not been convicted one year before his 65th birthday.

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Senate Starts Rare Impeachment Trial

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- All the talk in Washington is about the new compromise to extend the Bush tax cuts, but the Senate Tuesday morning was focused on something altogether different: the impeachment trial of a federal judge, only the 12th one in Senate history.

Federal Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr., of Louisiana, was impeached by the House in March on corruption charges. The prosecution has argued that Porteous received cash, gifts, and additional favors from lawyers and other people that dealt with his court, while the defense has objected by arguing the conduct in question occurred before his 1994 appointment to the federal bench and he was never accused of a crime.

If two-thirds of the Senate this week votes to convict him on any of the four counts of impeachment, Porteous would become only the eighth federal judge in history to be impeached. If this occurs, Porteous would not only be removed from office immediately, but he would also lose his pension benefits. In order to qualify for a pension equal to his salary of $174,000, Porteous, who turns 64 next week, needs to serve until age 65.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐

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