Sharpton Joins Hastings’ Anti-Impeachment Effort
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Federal Judge Alcee L. Hastings welcomed the support of New York minister Al Sharpton in fighting impeachment proceedings Wednesday but stopped short of agreeing with Sharpton’s contention that the Senate effort is racially motivated.
Hastings, the first black federal judge in Florida history, is accused of plotting to obtain a $150,000 payoff, lying about it to a jury that acquitted him in 1983 and improperly disclosing information obtained from a wiretap.
He was impeached a year ago and is now on trial by the Senate, which could remove him from the bench and take away his $89,500 judicial salary. A 12- member panel of senators is hearing evidence and will report to the full Senate, which will make the final decision.
Hastings has contended that if a white judge had been acquitted in the bribery conspiracy case he would not have been subjected to impeachment. But he said Wednesday, ″I do not believe there is a racist bone in the body of any member of the United States Senate.″
Sharpton, on the other hand, said at a news conference with Hastings, ″It is double jeopardy at best and an outrageous racist maneuver to try to deprive us of one of the few black judges in this country.″
Hastings noted the crowd at the news conference and said, ″If Rev. Sharpton has been the hook, then hallelujah. He said he could ″not be judgmental″ about the source of support as he fights to hold onto his judicial post.
Sharpton became nationally known as an adviser to Tawana Brawley, a black teenager who said she was abducted and molested by a group of white men.
The minister advised Miss Brawley not to cooperate with the New York attorney general’s investigation of the allegation. She did not testify and a grand jury later declared the story to be a hoax.