A former Alabama judge was cleared Monday of charges that he spanked and sexually abused male inmates.
Thomas wept and hugged his wife and supporters after the judge threw out the remaining charges. He left court without comment. As he left, one supporter threw her hands in the air and shouted, "Thank you Jesus." Other supporters gathered in a circle to pray.
Defense attorneys had painted the 48-year-old as a prominent civic leader who became a victim of felons who lied about him to manipulate the court system.
Judge Herman Thomas
The trial of a former US judge accused of having sex with male inmates in exchange for leniency is set to start in Mobile, Alabama.
Herman Thomas, 48, denies the charges, which include sodomy, kidnapping, extortion, sex abuse and assault.
Up to 15 current and former prisoners are set to testify against him at the jury trial.
He was once the Democratic Party’s choice to be the first black federal judge in south Alabama.
Mr Thomas resigned as a judge in 2007 following allegations that he spanked inmates in his private office at the county courthouse with a paddle.