13:55 GMT04 December 2020
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    A North Carolina judge has been indicted for trying to bribe an FBI agent with beer to get him the text message conversations from two different phone numbers.

    Wayne County Superior Court Judge Arnold Ogden Jones is charged with three felonies, two relating to bribing an elected official as well as a charge of "attempted corrupt influence of official proceeding.”

    Jones had reportedly went to the agent in October, asking for the text messages, telling him that they were not related to a criminal matter and were “just for him,” and “involved family.”

    In exchange for this massive breach of privacy, the judge offered up a couple of cases of beer.

    The indictment states:

    “JONES asked the FBI Officer what he thought was a fair number, stating, "You tell me, I'm serious." JONES confirmed that he did not want the FBI Officer to only obtain and deliver the text messages as a favor by stating, "No, no, no, You've had to take time, and I'm glad to do something. Do you follow me?" JONES and the FBI Officer initially agreed upon "a couple of cases of beer" as the amount of the payment from JONES to the FBI Officer.”

    Instead, they ultimately settled on $100 in cash as payment for the texts.

    "In return, the FBI Officer delivered to [Jones] an FBI disk that was represented to contain the text messages requested by [Jones]," the indictment states.

    Jones was arrested on Wednesday and released without bond and has been placed on administrative leave from the Wayne County Superior Court.

    Jones was elected to the Superior Court in 2008 and is the chairman of the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, a group that has reviewed hundreds of innocence claims, some of which have resulted in the freeing of wrongfully convicted prison inmates.

    If he is found guilty, the judge faces up to 37 years in prison.


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    Wayne County Superior Court, Judge Arnold Ogden Jones, North Carolina
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