Impeached Judge Offers Early Resignation
By Ben Pershing
Less than a week after he was impeached by the House, imprisoned U.S. District Court Judge Samuel B. Kent today submitted his resignation from his post effective June 30, potentially heading off Senate efforts to remove him from the federal bench.
According to multiple reports, Kent handed his resignation letter to Senate officials who had come to serve him a summons at a federal prison facility in Massachusetts, where he is currently serving a 33-month sentence after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice in a probe of his alleged sexual abuse of female employees. After his guilty plea, Kent had offered to resign but made the effective date June 2010. That would have enabled him to continue to collect his six-figure salary for another year, a circumstance the House specifically sought to prevent by impeaching him last week.
"Kent's realization that we would not allow him to take advantage of the system proves that the system works and justice has been served," Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), one of the leaders of the movement to impeach Kent, told the Houston Chronicle.
Kent's resignation was announced today during the first meeting of the Senate's impeachment trial committee, chaired by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). President Obama must formally accept Kent's resignation for it to take effect, and neither the House nor the Senate has determined yet what it will do next in the case.
"The Senate today directed the Secretary of the Senate to deliver the original letter of resignation to the President and a certified copy to the House of Representatives," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a joint statement. "Additionally, the letter has been referred to the Senate impeachment trial committee. The Senate will determine appropriate action after the House has expressed its views about this development."
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