Published June 02, 2009
A federal judge facing impeachment over his conviction in a sex-abuse case submitted his resignation Tuesday to President Obama -- but it won't take effect for a year.
A source close to the House Judiciary Committee, which will soon consider Judge Samuel Kent's fate, said the embattled judge was "thumbing his nose" at Congress with the belated resignation. The committee intends to go forward with plans Wednesday to draw up articles of impeachment against Kent.
Kent is a federal judge in Texas, and was convicted of lying about the sexual abuse of two assistants. He was sentenced to nearly three years in jail and fined $6,500.
The impeachment proceedings are rare for a federal judge -- one has not been impeached by the House and then convicted by the Senate since the late 1980s.
Kent has tried to retire from the bench on disability, a move that would allow him to collect his annual salary until death. A disciplinary panel recently denied that request.
But Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the ranking Republican on the panel, said Kent is clearly still angling for a taxpayer-backed pension he does not deserve.
"Judge Kent's own actions continue to prove that he is unworthy of public service. By choosing to resign effective a year from now, Judge Kent is attempting to secure a year's salary, paid for by the American taxpayers, while he sits in a prison cell as a convicted felon," Smith said. "This is an outrageous abuse of authority and defies the very principles of justice Judge Kent swore to uphold. Ensuring that a corrupt judge does not receive another penny of taxpayer dollars is one of the most important jobs for this Congress and a priority for the Judiciary Committee."
FOX News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.