US & Canada

Louisiana judge removed from office over corruption

Judge Thomas Porteous
Image caption The US Senate found Judge Thomas Porteous guilty of taking cash bribes and other favours

The US Senate has removed Judge Thomas Porteous from the bench after finding him guilty of corruption.

Judge Porteous, a Louisiana federal judge, was impeached on four charges including accepting cash and favours from lawyers whose cases were before him and lying to Congress.

His lawyer acknowledged that a serious gambling addiction prompted the crimes.

This is only the eighth time in US history that Congress has removed a federal judge.

Judge Porteous's legal team admitted that he had struggled with gambling and drinking problems.

But they argued his mistakes amounted to personal failings that did not pass the "high crimes and misdemeanour" criteria for impeachment.

The Senate, after deliberating in a two-hour closed door session on Tuesday, disagreed and voted on Wednesday to convict him on all four counts.

Congress had heard testimony from lawyers who claimed to have given him thousands of dollars in cash before he decided a case in their favour.

They also said they paid for meals, trips, and a lap dance for Judge Porteous's son at a Las Vegas strip club.

Senator Daniel Inouye called Judge Porteous "forever disqualified to hold and enjoy any office of honour, trust or profit under the United States".

More on this story