In September 2008, U.S. District Judge Samuel B. Kent of the Southern District of Texas spoke loudly and forcefully when entering a not guilty plea to sex abuse charges. But last week in a Houston courtroom his tone was markedly different as a clearly beaten Kent whispered “guilty” to an obstruction-of-justice charge.

“I accept your guilty plea,” U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson of the Northern District of Florida told Kent in court.

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