McBroom's judicial misconduct complaint was secret, but after the Chronicle published details of her allegations in November based on interviews with her mother and her friends, several key leaders from the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary called on McBroom to request a criminal investigation.
In response, Hardin asked the Department of Justice to investigate Kent's behavior and also requested that the judicial council consider harsher punishment.
In early 2008, investigators, overseen by prosecutor Peter Ainsworth of the Washington, D.C.-based Public Integrity Section, called several court security guards and other federal court employees who worked in Galveston to testify before a grand jury.
At first Texas FBI agents handling the case appeared to focus on the judge's behavior toward McBroom. But agents also asked about the judge's conduct toward other current and former employees as well as other female colleagues, according to interviews with witnesses who spoke to the FBI.The Chronicle reported last month that the Justice Department's investigation into Kent's alleged sexual misconduct had been expanded to include allegations he accepted but failed to report gifts and also sold his home in a deal arranged by a lawyer who had dozens of cases in his court at the time.
"Count one is time barred pursuant to a sworn pleading," Kent told the judge in what turned out to be an oddly light moment.
DeGuerin said, "Your honor will see I have very little client control."
Kent then joked, "I'm trying to save money."
Prado joked back that on a federal judge's salary, maybe he should be provided a lawyer.