- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
- CIA admits $3 billion intelligence operation was a flop
- ‘127 Hours’ author Aron Lee Ralston, who amputated arm in canyon, arrested in Denver
- Men posing as cops break into home of former deputy
- Berkshire County eschews greenback for own currency — BerkShares
- Hagel warns Pakistani leaders of U.S. aid losses over drone-strike protests
Senate takes up impeachment of Louisiana judge
WASHINGTON (AP) — The attorney for a federal judge facing a rare impeachment trial in the Senate argued Tuesday that Congress is pursuing unconstitutional charges against his client and would be breaking with two centuries of precedent by removing him from office.
Defense attorney Jonathan Turley told senators assembled in the chamber for the historic proceeding that some of the allegations against Judge G. Thomas Porteous are vague. Others, he said, involve conduct that occurred before Judge Porteous was appointed to the federal bench.
“In the history of this republic, no one has ever been removed from office on the basis of pre-federal conduct,” Mr. Turley said, urging the senators to dismiss some of the most serious charges.
The lead House prosecutor, Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democrat, responded that Judge Porteous‘ actions throughout his career show a persistent pattern of corruption before and after his federal service. Mr. Schiff said that allowing Judge Porteous to remain on the bench would erode public confidence in the courts and make a mockery of the federal judiciary.
“He must be removed,” Mr. Schiff said.
The arguments came as the Senate began the final stage of the case against Judge Porteous, a U.S. district court judge from Louisiana who could become just the eighth federal judge to be removed from office.
The House voted unanimously in March to bring four articles of impeachment against him. A two-thirds Senate vote is needed to convict. The proceeding is just the 16th judicial impeachment trial before the Senate.
House prosecutors allege that Judge Porteous was racking up debt as he struggled with drinking and gambling problems. They say he began accepting cash, meals, trips and other favors from people with business before his court, beginning as a state judge in the 1980s and continuing after he was appointed to the federal bench by President Clinton in 1994.
During previous evidence-gathering hearings, two attorneys who once worked with Judge Porteous said they gave him thousands of dollars in cash, including about $2,000 stuffed in an envelope in 1999, just before Judge Porteous decided a major civil case in their client’s favor. They also said they paid for meals, trips and part of a bachelor party for one of Judge Porteous‘ sons in Las Vegas, including a lap dance at a strip club.
One of the attorneys said that they paid the judge in cash to avoid a paper trail and that some of the transactions probably amounted to an illegal kickback scheme. Another said Judge Porteous‘ requests grew so common that he started trying to dodge the judge.
Another witness, New Orleans bail bondsman Louis Marcotte, described a long-standing relationship in which Mr. Marcotte and his employees routinely took Judge Porteous to lavish meals at French Quarter restaurants, repaired his automobiles, washed and filled his cars with gas, and took him on trips. In return, Judge Porteous manipulated bond amounts for defendants to give Mr. Marcotte the highest fees possible, said Mr. Marcotte, who served 18 months in prison on related corruption charges.
Mr. Turley has argued that Judge Porteous may have made poor decisions but that his actions don’t rise to the “high crimes and misdemeanor” standard required by the Constitution for impeachment. He has sought to portray much of the judge’s behavior as business as usual in the New Orleans-area legal community.
The impeachment trial is the first since the 1999 case against Mr. Clinton, who was acquitted.
Judge Porteous would be the first judge to be impeached and convicted since 1989, when two judges — Walter Nixon of Mississippi and Alcee L. Hastings of Florida — were removed from office. Mr. Hastings went on to win a seat in Congress, where he still serves.
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Tech companies call for an end to NSA online snooping
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- WWII vet, 90, en route to Pearl Harbor event booted from flight
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
Let’s talk about everything, especially the absurdity of it all
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Never apologetic. Never afraid. Lieutenant Colonel Allen B. West joins Communities to bring tales from the biggest Foxhole of them all, the one inside the Beltway.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow