TAMPA — U.S. District Judge Virginia Hernandez Covington recused herself Friday from a former colleague's bank fraud case.
In her order, Covington said she served alongside former Judge Thomas E. Stringer Sr. on the 2nd District Court of Appeal from September 2001 until September 2004 and worked with him on a regular basis.
Stringer was charged Thursday with bank fraud in federal court in Tampa, where Covington now serves. Covington said she was removing herself from the case to "avoid even the appearance of impropriety."
The case has been reassigned to U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich.
Stringer's first court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 6 before Magistrate Judge Mark A. Pizzo. Stringer, who resigned from the bench in February, has already agreed to plead guilty, but it's up to a judge to decide his sentence.