WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Monday opens its first impeachment trial since the 1999 case against former President Bill Clinton when it takes up a host of corruption allegations against a Louisiana judge.
The House voted unanimously in March to impeach U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous, approving four charges involving payoffs, kickbacks and lying under oath. A two-thirds vote is needed in the Senate to convict him.
Senators on a special impeachment panel appear ready to resolve the case quickly, scheduling three all-day hearings over the next two weeks in which House prosecutors will make their case and Porteous can mount a defense.
Investigators and witnesses who testified before a House task force laid out a damaging case against Porteous, saying he routinely gambled with borrowed money, filed for bankruptcy under a phony name and took cash, trips and home repairs from lawyers and a bail bondsman with business before his court.
Legal experts who testified suggested Porteous is a clear candidate to become just the eighth federal judge in U.S. history to be impeached and tried by Congress.
Porteous, who sits in the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans, offered little in his defense, opting to wait until the Senate trial. His attorney acknowledged that the evidence as presented was unflattering but said the House disregarded key facts and that Porteous' actions don't warrant impeachment.
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