12 March 2010

Louisiana Federal Judge Impeached

House votes to impeach US judge from Louisiana

The House voted unanimously Thursday to impeach a U.S. district judge from Louisiana, who lawmakers said avoided likely criminal charges related to alleged payoffs in part because the statute of limitations expired.

The House approved four impeachment articles charging him with taking payoffs and lying under oath. The unanimous vote reflected the bipartisan anger of the House over the judge's conduct.

The case goes to trial in the Senate, where a two-thirds vote is needed to convict U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr. of the "high crimes and misdemeanors" standard set out in the Constitution.

Porteous was accused of taking cash from lawyers and gifts from a bail bondsman, lying to the Senate and the FBI to win confirmation and making false statements in his personal bankruptcy proceedings to hide financial problems and gambling debts.

If convicted in the Senate, Porteous would become the eighth federal judge in U.S. history to be impeached and convicted.

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