Alcee Hastings corruption scandal

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In 1979, Alcee Hastings was appointed a federal judge for the Southern District of Florida by President Jimmy Carter. Two years later, Hastings was indicted on charges of conspiring to solicit a bribe from two defendants awaiting sentencing in his court. Hastings was unanimously acquitted of the charges in 1983. The Judicial Council of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, however, soon launched a separate investigation into the matter which lasted nearly four years. Ultimately, the council (which was led by former Watergate prosecutor John Doar and comprised of the active appeals court judges for that circuit and three U.S. District judges) found that Hastings not only had solicited a bribe, but also repeatedly lied during his trial. Following this report, the House Judiciary Committee approved seventeen articles of impeachment against Hastings. Sixteen dealt with the bribery case, while one centered around Hastings' improper revelation of sensitive government information obtained through a federal wiretap in 1985. In late 1988, the articles passed the House by a vote of 413-3. The Senate, following a trial by a twelve-member committee, chose to convict Hastings on eight of the articles, but opted not to restrict him from seeking federal elected office in the future (which it had the authority to do). In 1992, a federal judge remanded Hastings' conviction back to the Senate, arguing that Hastings should have received a trial by the full Senate. The Supreme Court, however, had ruled in a similar case that the courts have no jurisdiction over impeachment proceedings, and Hastings' conviction was therefore upheld. Later in 1992, Hastings was elected to Congress in Florida's Twenty-Third Congressional District. In 2006, after being reelected for the seventh time, Hastings was considered to chair the House Intelligence Committee in the 110th Congress. Facing pressure as a result of Hastings' troubled past, Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ultimately declined to give Hastings the job, choosing Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) instead.

Contents

Background

Hastings accused of accepting bribe

In 1981, two brothers, Frank and Thomas Romano, were accused of stealing $1 million from a union pension fund. The men were tried and convicted in Hastings’ court. As they awaited sentencing, William Dredge, a man facing separate drug charges, contacted the FBI and said that Hastings had solicited a bribe in the ongoing criminal case involving the Romano brothers. [1] [2]

Dredge said that William Borders, a lawyer friend of Hastings, was interested in soliciting a bribe for Hastings from the Romano brothers. He said that Borders had asked him to see if