A North Carolina Superior Court Judge was charged with several crimes after he bribed a member of the FBI with beer. The purpose of the bribe was to secure the text message of his family.
It's probably safe to say that the judge is pretty new to this bribery thing.
Superior Court judge Ogden Jones II is charged with attempting to bribe an FBI agent cash and booze in exchange for texts involving unknown family members. Jones apparently initiated the exchange when he texted the FBI agent -- whom Jones knew was an FBI agent -- on October 10, asking for copies of texts exchanged between two numbers.
Lack of Probable Cause?
Obtaining such private information legally cannot be done as a private exchange. It can only be done if an agent obtains a signed warrant issued by a neutral magistrate supported by probable cause. In this case, it's likely that Jones simply wanted to snoop into his family business. When the agent assured Jones that he would proceed anyway, Jones agreed.
When the FBI agent and Jones met surreptitiously in a car October 27, the two discussed payment. Apparently, the judge offered "a couple of cases of beer." And when the agent later informed Jones that he had the information on a disc, the judge changed the terms of the agreement and instead offered the agent $100. When they met later on, the judge handed the agent the money.
A Raleigh North Carolina attorney, Elliot Abrams, balked at the charges and said the threats are excessive and do not fit the weight of the crimes. He also intimated that the FBI agent should have warned the judge of the potential criminal nature of his request. The facts do bear some glancing resemblance to entrapment.
A Mere Lightweight
Compared to other cases of judges behaving badly, Judge Jones's case appears rather tame by comparison.
Several years ago, a New Mexico Judge was charged with sexually assaulting a prostitute, intimidating a witness and attempting to corrupt evidence. Last year an Alaska judge got embroiled in battery charges stemming from a a domestic dispute between the judge and his wife, in which she accused him of cheating on her with his law clerk.