Wednesday, June 24, 2009

McCaskill to Lead Impeachment Committee

Sen. Claire McCaskill will chair a committee charged with holding an impeachment trial for a federal judge.
The House of Representatives presented the Senate Wednesday with articles of impeachment for Judge Samuel Kent, a federal district judge in the Southern District of Texas, who has been accused of two counts of sexual misconduct and two counts of obstruction of justice.
McCaskill will be charged with leading a bipartisan 12-member committee that will investigate the evidence against Kent.
"It is not often that the Senate is called on to undertake the constitutional task of holding an impeachment trial of a federal judge. The Senate has a constitutional duty to provide due process and perform independent fact finding before voting on impeachment in every instance in which the House approves Articles of Impeachment. As Chair of the Impeachment Committee, I will work to ensure the process goes forward with no undue delay. I look forward to working with Senator Martinez and the other members of the committee to achieve that result," McCaskill said in a statement.

Kent has plead guilty to one count of obstruction of justice and is currently serving a 33-month prison sentence, but remains a federal judge until he either resigns or is impeached. In the meantime, he continues to receive an annual salary of $174,000 from the federal government, according to McCaskill's office.
A two-thirds Senate vote is needed to impeach a judge and strip him of his salary and pension.

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