Judicial Watch • Clinton Judge Breaks Senate Impeachment Trial Dry Spell

Clinton Judge Breaks Senate Impeachment Trial Dry Spell

Clinton Judge Breaks Senate Impeachment Trial Dry Spell

SEPTEMBER 13, 2010

In a heartwarming trivia tidbit, the subject of the U.S. Senate’s first impeachment trial in more than a decade is a crooked Louisiana federal judge appointed by the last figure—Bill Clinton—to be tried by the panel.

How appropriate that Clinton, admonished by the House of Representatives in 1998, helped end the Senate Impeachment Trial Committee’s 10-year dry spell. The Senate eventually acquitted the former president after a 21-day trial, but the House impeachment for perjury, obstruction of justice and malfeasance in office has earned the disgraced commander-in-chief a special place in history.

This week the Senate is considering the case of a judge, impeached by the House earlier this year for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” Clinton appointed to the federal bench in 1994. G. Thomas Portreous took bribes from lawyers with cases before him to pay off gambling debts then he hid assets, filed for bankruptcy under a bogus name and defied a bankruptcy court’s order relating to credit.

His many transgressions were discovered during an FBI investigation of state judges in New Orleans’s Jefferson Parish, where Portreous served until Clinton gave him his lifetime gig. During a lengthy criminal probe, Porteous offered incriminating information relating to the broad judicial misconduct investigation and he was subsequently suspended from hearing cases though he’ll continue collecting his $174,000 annual salary unless he’s removed by the Senate.

The 12-member panel hearing the case (click here for live webcasts) will make recommendations to the full Senate and it will take a two-thirds vote to permanently remove Portreous and strip him of his taxpayer-funded salary. Only one federal judge has been stripped of his lifetime appointment in the last decade. That Texas judge, Samuel Kent (appointed George H.W. Bush in 1990), is serving a three-year prison sentence for obstructing an investigation into charges that he sexually assaulted two female employees.


 

Sign Up for Updates!