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Louisiana federal judge may be impeached

June 19, 2008 at 12:35 PM

NEW ORLEANS, June 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. House of Representatives may undertake a rare impeachment trial of a Louisiana federal judge accused of accepting bribes and perjury.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Porteous Jr.'s disciplinary case has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, a statement by the panel's chair Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, confirmed Wednesday.

"We were notified today of a determination by the U.S. Judicial Conference that impeachment proceedings against Judge Thomas Porteous may be warranted," Smith said. "Documents provided to the Committee by the Judicial Conference are currently under review. Judiciary Committee Republicans will work closely with our Democratic counterparts to ensure expeditious and appropriate action is taken."

Porteous is accused of lying on financial disclosure statements to hide money taken from lawyers in his cases, defrauding a bank into giving him a loan and perjuring himself in a bankruptcy proceeding. If the House approves impeachment articles, the case would be sent to the U.S. Senate for a final verdict. A removal from the bench would be the first action of its kind since 1989.

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