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Federal Judge in Texas Pleads Guilty to Justice Obstruction

GALVESTON (CN) - U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent pleaded guilty to a single count of obstruction of justice and resigned his seat on the bench, ensuring he will not face trial on five counts of sexual abuse of two female employees, the Houston Chronicle reported today. Jury selection for the trial on six felony counts was to begin today.

The obstruction charge alleges that Kent lied to a 5th Circuit Judicial Council panel investigating the claims of abuse.

The government is expected to ask that Kent be sentenced to a 3 years in prison, the Chronicle reported.

Kent was appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 and was the only federal district judge in Galveston for several years.

Senior U.S. District Judge imposed a gag order in the case but allowed Kent's attorney to make a brief statement to the press.

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