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Harry Claiborne, impeached ex-judge

LAS VEGAS -- Harry Claiborne, a federal judge who was impeached after his conviction for filing false tax returns, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Jan. 19 at his home. He was 86.

Mr. Claiborne, who had cancer and other ailments, committed suicide, the Clark County coroner's office said.

Before his appointment to the bench, Mr. Claiborne was considered one of Nevada's top defense lawyers, representing many prominent people with ties to Las Vegas. Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin hired him for casino licensing matters. Judy Garland and one of Errol Flynn's wives came to him for divorces. He also represented mobster Bugsy Siegel.

Mr. Claiborne was one of only seven federal officials in US history to be removed from office through impeachment, Senate Historical Office records show.

He failed to report more than $107,000 on his 1979 and 1980 federal income tax returns -- money he earned as a lawyer before his appointment by President Carter. Mr. Claiborne was convicted in 1984 and removed from the bench by the Senate in 1986. He was the first federal judge to be sent to prison, serving 17 months.

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