Former federal judge pleads guilty in sex-for-benefits case



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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — An ex-Social Security Administration judge in Tuscaloosa pleaded guilty to allegations he had sex with a woman trying to get government benefits and then attempted to cover it up.

The Tuscaloosa News reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/2eff35y ) that Paul Stribling Conger Jr. pleaded guilty Wednesday to obstructing justice, accepting a gratuity for an official act while serving as a public official and stealing government property.

His attorney called his actions a one-time mistake in an otherwise prestigious career.

"Judge Conger's plea agreement and yesterday's guilty plea is evidence of Judge Conger's acceptance of his responsibility for his mistake," said Willliam Chambers Waller IV. "This unfortunate situation is not representative of the type of judge and person Judge Conger was during his long and distinguished career.

Conger was a Social Security judge from 1999 to 2014. He had previously served as a family court judge in the Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court.

Court documents alleged that a woman who wanted help getting Social Security benefits approached Conger in 2013. He presided over the woman's hearing and eventually approved the benefits. The woman, who was identified only as T.M. in court documents, met Conger in his chambers, and the two engaged in sexual activity, according to the plea documents. They were in contact for the next few weeks by telephone and text.

Authorities also say he lied to investigators and paid someone to destroy her phone. They said he was also accused of accessing her Social Security file to find her and then giving that information to the person he paid to destroy her phone.

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Information from: The Tuscaloosa News, http://www.tuscaloosanews.com

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Associated Press

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