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Judge Accused of Fondling Employees Was Tough on Lawyers

Posted Feb 23, 2009 7:34 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Texas federal judge who goes on trial today on charges of aggravated sexual abuse and obstruction of justice was known for opinions that were tough on lawyers and dripping with sarcasm.

U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent is accused of fondling two female court employees and lying in a court internal probe. He is the first federal judge to face trial on a sex crime charge, the Associated Press reports.

Kent’s lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, says his client’s contact with the women was consensual, and he was merely trying to protect one of the women when he lied in a court investigation.

Kent’s “blistering” opinions were often circulated on the Internet, the Wall Street Journal reports (sub. req.). One of the more well-known opinions denied a request to move a case out of Galveston. The lawyers had sought the move because it was inconvenient to try the case in Kent's court. The judge wrote that the lawyers could easily make the drive. The road "is paved and lighted" and "free of rustlers," Kent wrote. And his courtroom, he said, has "got lights, indoor plummin', 'lectric doors, and all sorts of new stuff."

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