For just the eighth time in U.S. history, and for the first time in more than 20 years, the Senate is about to impeach a sitting federal judge. The Judge, G. Thomas Porteous, is accused of taking cash, expensive meals and other gifts from lawyers and a bail bondsman, lying to Congress and filing a bankruptcy under a false name. The House voted unanimously in March to bring the charges. A two-thirds vote is needed in the Senate to convict him. The role of prosecutors is being played by Reps. Adam Schiff and Bob Goodlatte. Porteous's attorney is admitting that Porteous may be guilty of poor judgment but isn't guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, as required by the Constitution for impeachment. In addition, Porteous is claiming that the conduct that is being questioned occurred while he was a state judge and that the Senate would be breaking from precedent by convicting him for behavior that occurred before he became a federal judge. Porteous is a federal judge in New Orleans. His behavior was uncovered during a five year FBI investigation in Louisiana. The investigation resulted in the convictions of over a dozen individuals but Porteous was never charged with anything. He was however suspended from the bench.
The Senate trial is expected to move along rather quickly and should be over within the next two weeks.
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