[JURIST] The US Senate [official website] began the impeachment trial process [press release] for Judge Samuel Kent [official profile] Wednesday for alleged "high crimes and misdemeanors" after accepting the articles of impeachment [text, PDF] from the US House of Representatives [official website]. Senate leaders established a bipartisan committee to prepare for the upcoming impeachment trial. The judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas [official profile] is being impeached on allegations of sexually harassing his secretary and case manager, obstructing a judicial proceeding by making false statements, and making false and misleading statements to federal agents during his investigation. The House approved the articles [JURIST report] last week to no opposition. Kent is the first federal judge to be impeached in 20 years and only the thirteenth federal judge to be impeached.
Earlier this month, Kent sent a letter of resignation [JURIST report] to President Barack Obama that would be effective June 2010, allowing him to collect his salary until then. In May, Kent pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to obstruction of justice in a plea agreement [text, PDF] that prevented him from facing a criminal trial. Following his plea, he was sentenced [JURIST report] to 33 months in prison and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and $6,500 in restitution.