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Federal Judge’s Conduct Cited as Possible Grounds for Impeachment

Posted Dec 21, 2007 7:17 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A special court panel has found that U.S. District Judge Thomas Porteous of New Orleans has engaged in conduct that might constitute grounds for impeachment, including filing false statements with a bankruptcy court and accepting lawyer gifts.

The report (PDF) by the Judicial Council of the 5th U.S. Circuit will be forwarded to the U.S. Judicial Conference headed by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., which will decide whether to recommend impeachment, the Associated Press reports.

The report cited evidence that during the bankruptcy of Porteous and his wife, Porteous had concealed assets, failed to list all creditors, filed the petition under a false name and failed to identify gambling losses. It also said the judge had obtained credit from casinos despite a bankruptcy court order that he obtain approval before taking on more debt.

The report also referred to evidence that Porteous had accepted gifts from lawyers who appeared before him, and failed to report the gifts on financial statements.

President Clinton nominated Porteous to the federal bench in 1994. He replaced U.S. District Judge Robert Collins, who resigned after his conviction for accepting $100,000 from a drug smuggler, the Times Picayune reports.

Porteous had also been investigated but not charged in the FBI’s Wrinkled Robe corruption investigation of conduct while on the state court bench, the Time Picayune says.

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