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Houston Fed Judge Pleads Guilty to Obstruction of Justice

Judge Samuel Kent/official photo

Judge Samuel Kent/official photo

Sometimes when you’re guilty it’s best to grab a plea rather than go through an embarrassing trial that will end with a guilty verdict anyways. Judge Sam Kent had probably seen enough trials to figure that one out.

By MARY FLOOD
Houston Chronicle
HOUSTON — U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of justice today and retired from the bench, avoiding a trial on that charge and five others accusing him of sexually abusing two female employees.

Kent was scheduled to see a jury selected this morning for his trial on all six felony counts.

Few federal judges ever go to trial, but his would have been the first in which a federal judge was accused of sexual charges.

“Judge Kent believes that this settlement is in the best interest of all involved,” his attorney, Dick DeGuerin, said after this morning’s hearing.

“A trial would have been long, embarrassing and difficult for all involved,” DeGuerin added. He said Kent has retired from the bench.

Kent faces up to 20 years in prison on the obstruction charge. Prosecutors have suggested he be sentenced to three years in prison, but the judge is not bound by that recommendation.

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