The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission is tasked with investigating criminal convictions and making sure they're correct. And they may be investigating one of their own soon. Commission chairman and Superior Court Judge Arnold Ogden Jones II is accused of trying to bribe an FBI agent with "a couple of cases of beer." Judge Jones was allegedly trying to get text messages between family members.
Now he might be getting a few decades in prison. The judge has been arrested and indicted on three federal corruption charges.
"I Want Down Low"
According to his federal indictment, Judge Jones asked an FBI officer for text messages between two numbers, specifying that they "involved family." Jones allegedly told the agent, "I want down low -- see what you can do without drawing attention," adding, "This involves family so I don't want anybody to know."
Jones assured the agent he could be trusted "one million percent" to keep the agent's involvement secret and offered up "a couple cases of beer" as payment for the texts. When the agent informed Judge Jones he had obtained a warrant for the text messages, Jones replied that he had the agent's "'paycheck' in the back seat of his car." The two eventually agreed on $100 for the texts, and after the agent delivered a disk that supposedly contained the messages, Judge Jones was arrested.
Can I Pay My Bail in Beer?
Judge Jones is accused of violating two federal statutes prohibiting bribery of public officials and tampering with officials. If convicted on all three counts (promise/payment of a bribe to a public official, promise/payment of a gratuity to a public official, and attempted corrupt influence of official proceeding), the judge could be looking at 37 years behind bars. We hope it was really good beer, and not that Blue Moon crap.