06.10.09

Schiff, Goodlatte Comment on Judiciary Committee Passage of Impeachment Articles for Judge Samuel Kent

Official Seal of the US House of Representatives

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 Contact: Sean Oblack (202) 225-4176

Schiff, Goodlatte Comment on Judiciary Committee Passage of Impeachment Articles for Judge Samuel Kent

House to Consider 14th Impeachment of a Judge in Nation’s History

Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Judicial Impeachment chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and ranking member Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), presented the case for impeachment of Judge Samuel B. Kent to the full Judiciary Committee today. After the presentation, the Judiciary Committee unanimously approved four impeachment articles relating to Judge Kent.  The articles included two on the grounds of sexual assault, one on the grounds of obstruction of justice, and one on the grounds of providing false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice.  According to the Congressional Research Service, Judge Kent will be only the 14th federal judge in the nation’s history to be the focus of an impeachment in the House. 

“These acts of sexual assault and obstruction of justice are, as the judge who sentenced Mr. Kent to incarceration stated, ‘a stain on the justice system itself,’” said Schiff.  “Were the House of Representatives to sit idly by and allow Mr. Kent to continue to hold the office of U.S. District Judge while sitting in prison, and after committing such high crimes and misdemeanors, it would be a stain on the Congress as well.”

“When evidence emerges that an individual is abusing his judicial office for his own advantage, the integrity of our entire judicial system becomes compromised and the House of Representatives has the duty to investigate the matter and take the appropriate actions to end the abuse and restore confidence in the judicial system,” said Rep. Goodlatte.  “After hearing the testimony of witnesses and examining all the evidence it has become clear that Judge Kent has engaged in conduct, including obstruction of justice and repeated sexual assaults on court employees, which merits the passage of all four articles of impeachment against Judge Kent.”

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Judicial Impeachment unanimously approved the four articles of impeachment and recommended them to the full Judiciary Committee.  Now that the full House Judiciary Committee has passed these articles of impeachment, they will now be considered on the House Floor. 

According to a federal Grand Jury indictment, Judge Kent is alleged to have committed acts constituting Abusive Sexual Contact and Attempted Aggravated Sexual Abuse in 2003 and 2007 against Ms. Cathy McBroom, a Deputy Clerk occasionally assigned to Judge Kent’s courtroom.  Judge Kent is also alleged to have committed acts constituting Aggravated Sexual Abuse and Abusive Sexual Contact from 2004 through at least 2005 against Ms. Donna Wilkerson, Judge Kent’s secretary. Last week, at an evidentiary hearing the Task Force heard testimony from Ms. McBroom and Ms. Wilkerson.

In February 2009, Judge Kent plead guilty to Obstruction of Justice.  As part of his plea, he admitted to engaging in non-consensual sexual contact with Ms. McBroom without her permission in 2003 and 2007.  Judge Kent also admitted to engaging in non-consensual sexual contact with Ms. Wilkerson without her permission from 2004 through at least 2005.  Judge Kent also admitted that he falsely testified before the Special Investigative Committee of the Fifth Circuit regarding his unwanted sexual contact with Ms. Wilkerson.  On May 11, 2009, Judge Kent was sentenced to a term of 33 months in prison and ordered to pay fines and restitution to Ms. McBroom and Ms. Wilkerson.  Judge Kent is ordered to surrender himself on June 15th.