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Convicted Judge Resigns, Avoids Senate Impeachment Trial

The Senate is off the hook for an impeachment trial this summer, considering U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent resigned a day after the chamber took steps to remove him from office.Kent sent the Senate a notice of his resignation, effective June 30, 2009, in his response to their summons for him to present a defense at a trial that would have likely resulted in his conviction on high crimes and misdemeanors. Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer read the resignation notice on the Senate floor.Kent had refused to resign immediately after he pleaded guilty in May to charges of giving false testimony to investigators who were looking into allegations that he sexually assaulted and harassed female court employees. Instead, Kent was seeking to continue receiving his $174,000-a-year salary and benefits while in jail. Kent began serving a 33-month sentence last week, and he had said his resignation would not take effect until June 2010.House impeachment managers presented articles of impeachment against Kent to the Senate on Wednesday, and the Senate created a bipartisan committee to gather evidence on the case before an eventual Senate trial.A Senate conviction on the impeachment charges would have removed him from the federal payroll.

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