Judge convicted of corruption; feds say he offered cash, beer for wife’s text messages

File/Judge Arnold Jones
File/Judge Arnold Jones

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WNCN) — A state Superior Court judge was convicted of corruption by a federal jury Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina said.

Judge Arnold Ogden Jones II was convicted of three charges: paying bribes, paying gratuities and attempting corrupt influence of an official proceeding, the prosecutor’s office said.

The jury took 33 minutes to reach the verdict after a five-day trial, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Jones will be sentenced sometime next year.

Prosecutors convinced the jury that between Oct. 10, 2015 and Nov. 3, 2015, Jones “gave, offered, and promised” cases of beer and $100 to an FBI Task Force officer to influence him to force Verizon to get the judge copy of his wife’s text messages.

The prosecutor’s office presented evidence that Jones wanted his wife’s text messages because he suspected she was having an affair.

The FBI officer quickly notified his superiors of the offer.

At trial, prosecutors showed a video of Jones, still in his judicial robe, standing on the steps of the Wayne County Courthouse, exchanging cash for a disk that was supposed to contain the messages, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

RELATED: NC Superior Court judge charged with paying a bribe

“The jury’s verdict affirms a bedrock principle of the rule of law,” said U.S. Attorney John Stuart Bruce in a news release. “No person holding a position of public trust in our legal system is permitted to subvert that system for his own personal objectives.”

John Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina said in the same release that no matter the level of government, complexity of scheme or names involved, corruption will not be tolerated.

“Rooting out public corruption is the FBI’s top criminal investigative priority and we rely on our law enforcement partners and citizens to help us identify those offenders who put our democracy at risk,” he said.

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