Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings dies
Alcee Hastings, a longtime congressman from Florida, died on Tuesday at age 84. Hastings began his career as a civil rights lawyer and in 1979 became Florida’s first African American federal judge since Reconstruction. But soon after, he set a new record: The first sitting U.S. judge to be tried on criminal charges. The House impeached him in 1988 and the Senate convicted him the next year. Just three years later, Hastings was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he fought for liberal causes for the next nearly three decades. In 2019, Hastings announced he had pancreatic cancer, but he still won reelection in November with 80 percent of the vote.
What were the charges against Hastings? Prosecutors accused him and a friend of soliciting a bribe from two convicted racketeers in exchange for shortening their sentences. Hastings was acquitted, but a judicial panel accused him of fabricating his defense. Ethical questions haunted him throughout his political career, including a 2011 accusation of sexual harassment by a female aide.
Dig deeper: Read Emily Belz’s report checking in on the 112th Congress, including Alcee Hastings.
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