Judge Pleads Guilty, Avoids Sex Crime Trial

Kent headed to jail, but won't lose job without impeachment
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2009 12:38 PM CST
US district judge Samuel Kent, arrives at the Bob Casey Federal Courthouse, Jan. 7, 2009, in Houston.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – US District Judge Sam Kent pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice today, as part of a deal that will allow him to duck a messy trial on sex crime charges, the Houston Chronicle reports. He then retired from the bench. “A trial would have been long, embarrassing, and difficult for all involved,” said Kent’s attorney. The 59-year-old judge faces up to 20 years in prison, but those close to the case expect him to get three.

Kent was accused of abusing two female employees, including putting his mouth on one woman’s genitals and penetrating her with his fingers, and then lying about it to a judicial council.