Allegation of sexual misconduct by federal judge in 1998 will be investigated by committee

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A special judicial committee is investigating an allegation that a federal judge in Waco, Texas, engaged in an “abusive sexual contact” with a deputy court clerk in 1998.

The allegation against U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. was made in a complaint by lawyer Ty Clevenger, who has clashed with Smith in the past, report the Waco Tribune-Herald and the Associated Press.

Smith determined Clevenger filed a frivolous racketeering suit five years ago and sanctioned him $25,000, according to a prior Waco Tribune-Herald story. Clevenger’s suit had alleged a conspiracy to acquire rights to oil-and-gas royalties. One of the defendants filed a complaint against Clevenger with the state bar, resulting in a public reprimand.

While defending himself in the ethics case, Clevenger subpoenaed a former deputy clerk, who alleged in a deposition that Smith invited her to his chambers, where he kissed and propositioned her. The deputy clerk said a complaint was made to U.S. District Judge Harry Lee Hudspeth, then the chief judge, but no appropriate action was taken.

Smith and Hudspeth declined to comment, the Tribune-Herald says.

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