Ex-Judge Implicated in Whitewater Considering run for Judgeship

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Little Rock District Judge David Stewart is preparing to leave the bench to become director of the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission.  One person who may join the race to replace Stewart was once banned for life by the same commission.

Former Little Rock traffic judge Bill Watt, who was sanctioned after being given immunity from prosecution in the Whitewater investigation, says he may run for Stewart's seat.

Watt resigned as judge in 1996 and was placed under the lifetime ban by commission for failing to avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.  The panel lifted the permanent ban in 2004.  At the time, Watt said he wanted out from under the ban to have "closure" from the Whitewater days, not because he wanted to fun again.

Watt told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he is exploring a run for a seat being vacated by Stewart.

In 1996, Watt agreed to resign from the bench and not seek judicial office again, a move that enabled him to avoid a commission hearing into complaints that he forged the signature, made an improper campaign contribution and inappropriately used his court staff to investigate truancy cases.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)