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Federal Judge G. Thomas Porteous|Tries to Derail Impeachment

WASHINGTON (CN) - U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr. says a House Impeachment Task Force is trying to use immunized testimony he gave while under criminal investigation to make a case for his impeachment. Porteous has served on the bench at the Eastern District of Louisiana since 1994.

Porteous is being investigated for allegations of perjury: signing false financial disclosure forms under oath to conceal "cash and things of value that he solicited and received from lawyers appearing in litigation before him," according to a report from the Judicial Conference of the United States and news reports.

In his federal complaint, Porteous says the Department of Justice investigated him for suspicion of judicial misconduct from 1999 to 2007. The DOJ concluded the investigation in 2007 without filing criminal charges, but said "that it was forwarding the evidence gathered during its investigation for possible disciplinary proceedings and, if warranted, certification for possible impeachment by Congress."

The chief judge of the 5th Circuit appointed a Special Investigatory Committee and on Oct. 29, 2007, "Porteous' testimony was compelled under a grant of statutory immunity," according to the complaint.

"Based upon the hearing, on Nov. 20, 2007, the Special Committee issued a report to the Judicial Counsel of the 5th District concluding that Judge Porteous committed misconduct that might constitute one or more grounds for impeachment."

On Sept. 17, 2008, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1448, directing the Judiciary Committee to "inquire whether the House should impeach Judge Porteous."

On Jan. 13, 2009, the House passed H.R. 15, continuing the investigation.

Porteous says that the House Judiciary Committee's Impeachment Task Force, comprised of defendants Alan Baron, Mark Dubester and Harold Damelin, used immunized testimony he gave during the criminal investigation.

Baron is the task force's special counsel, Dubester the majority counsel and Damelin the minority counsel.

Porteous claims that the task force "made use of [the testimony] in determining the course of the impeachment investigation, in interviewing witnesses, and in considering what additional evidence to seek or what investigative leads to pursue."

Porteous says that violated the 5th Amendment. He seeks an injunction preventing use of the 125-page testimony in the impeachment investigation.

He is represented by Richard Wesling with Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver.

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