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Nearing Impeachment, Judge Kent Reveals He Will Resign—But Not Now

Posted Jun 2, 2009 12:57 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal judge sentenced to as much as 33 months in prison after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice will resign, but his last day won’t be until next June 1.

U.S. District Court Samuel Kent told President Obama of his decision in a letter, the Houston Chronicle reports. Kent’s lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, told the newspaper the resignation is pushed back until next year because it would take the Senate at least that long to conduct impeachment proceedings.

Until that time, Kent plans to keep collecting his annual pay of $174,000 and health benefits, DeGuerin said.

Kent had entered the guilty plea to obstruction as part of a plea bargain in which he admitted to nonconsensual sexual contact with two court employees. The judicial council for the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has since recommended impeachment. A House task force was scheduled to begin hearing testimony on Wednesday from the two women who accused Kent of improper conduct.

DeGuerin told the Chronicle the impeachment proceedings were “taking advantage of a man who has been totally destroyed.”

“If they want to continue with the impeachment hearings, you’ll know that they’re doing it just for the publicity value,” he said. “It’s going to be brutal, it’s going to be ugly and it’s going to be nasty—and there’s no reason to do it.”

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