CONCORD, N.H. – New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said Friday her background as a governor is serving her well as she sits on a panel hearing the first impeachment trial of a federal judge in more than 20 years.

Shaheen, a Democrat in her first term, is among 12 senators who have been hearing the case of U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous of Louisiana, who is accused of taking payoffs and lying under oath. After the trial ends next week, they’ll present facts to the full Senate, where a two-thirds vote is needed for conviction.

Shaheen is one of the few non-lawyers on the panel, but she said that can be an asset given that senators have been reminding themselves that the impeachment trial is not a criminal or civil trial and thus has different rules.

“That’s probably one of the benefits I bring,” she said in a phone interview from Washington. “Also, having been a governor I think is helpful, having been in a situation where we dealt with very serious issues around personnel. I think that’s very helpful to be able to really weigh the facts in the case.”

In opening statements Monday, House members acting as prosecutors outlined what they called a decades-long pattern of unethical behavior by the New Orleans-area judge, who is charged with taking cash, expensive meals and other gifts, lying to Congress and filing for bankruptcy under a false name.