Today, Senators voted on four articles of impeachment against Judge G. Thomas Porteous, Jr. The Times-Picayune summarizes the articles below. I’ve added the vote total on each article.
Article I (Guilty: 96-0)
This Article focuses on Judge Porteous’s misconduct in relation to presiding over the case In re: Liljeberg Enterprises, Inc. The record reflects that Judge Porteous was engaged in a corrupt kickback scheme with the law firm of Amato & Creely, that he failed to disclose his relationship with the firm, and that he denied a motion to recuse himself from the case despite the firm’s representation of one of the parties. The kickback scheme involved appointing Mr. Creely as a curator in hundreds of cases, with fees amounting to approximately $40,000 paid to the Amato & Creely firm, approximately half of which was paid back to Judge Porteous. Judge Porteous made intentionally misleading statements at the recusal hearing intended to minimize the extent of this personal relationship with the firm. The record also reflects that Judge Porteous engaged in corrupt conduct after the bench trial and while the case was under advisement, by soliciting and accepting things of value from attorneys at the firm, including $2,000 in cash.
The Article finds that by virtue of this corrupt relationship and his conduct as a Federal judge, Judge Porteous brought his court into scandal and disrepute, prejudiced public respect for, and confidence in, the Federal judiciary, and demonstrated that he is unfit for office.
Article II (Guilty: 69-27)
This Article focuses on Judge Porteous’s corrupt relationship with bail bondsman Louis Marcotte and his sister Lori. The record reflects that as part of this corrupt relationship, Judge Porteous solicited and accepted numerous things of value, including meals, trips, home and car repairs, for his personal use and benefit while at the same time taking official actions on behalf of the Marcottes. This included setting, reducing, and splitting bonds for the Marcottes while on the State bench, and improperly setting aside or expunging felony convictions for two Marcotte employees. Judge Porteous also used the power and prestige of his office to assist the Marcottes in forming relationships with State judicial officers and others. Judge Porteous also knew and understood that Louis Marcotte made false statements to the FBI in an effort to assist his appointment to the Federal bench.
The Article finds that Judge Porteous has engaged in conduct so utterly lacking in honesty and integrity that he is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, is unfit to hold the office of Federal judge, and should be removed from office.
Article III (Guilty: 88-8)
This Article focuses on Judge Porteous’s repeated false and misleading statements, including the concealment of debts, under oath and in disregard of a bankruptcy court’s orders. The record reflects that as a Federal judge he knowingly and intentionally made material false statements and representations under penalty of perjury and repeatedly violated a court order in his case. This included using a false name and post office box to conceal his identity as a debtor in the case; concealing assets, preferential payments to certain creditors, and gambling losses and debts; and incurring new debts while the case was pending in violation of the court=s order.
The Article finds that Judge Porteous’s conduct brought his court into scandal and disrepute, prejudiced public respect for and confidence in the Federal judiciary, and demonstrated that he is unfit for the office of Federal judge.
Article IV (Guilty: 90-6)
This Article focuses on Judge Porteous’s misconduct in relation to his nomination and Senate confirmation to be a Federal judge. The record reflects that Judge Porteous knowingly made material false statements about his past to both the U.S. Senate and to the FBI in connection with his nomination to the Federal bench in order to conceal corrupt relationships. In addition, Judge Porteous knew that another individual made false statements to the FBI in an effort to assist his appointment to the Federal bench.
The Article finds that Judge Porteous’s failure to disclose these corrupt relationships deprived the U.S. Senate and the public of information that would have had a material impact on his confirmation.
The Times-Picayune notes that a “two-thirds vote by the senators voting in support of one or more of the articles would result in the Porteous’ immediate removal from the bench and the loss of his pension.”
Senators also adopted a motion to disqualify Judge Porteous from holding any future federal office, 94-2.