RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) – An eastern North Carolina judge is arrested after trying to bribe an FBI agent.
According to investigators, Superior Court Judge Arnold Jones II tried to bribe the agent to collect text messages between two phone numbers for a family matter.
Access to text messages requires a search warrant which neither Jones nor the FBI agent had.
“The case was initiated when the judge sent a text to the agent and then the undercover operation was initiated so the agent was acting appropriately,” Donald Connelly with the US Attorney office said.
The indictment says Jones offered the agent a couple of cases of beer, but when the actual transaction happened Jones gave the agent $100 instead.
Some members of the community had nothing but nice things to say about Jones.
“I just know that all the dealings that I’ve had with him he’s a really good man, I’ve never thought anything bad about him. He’s always been super nice and kind,” community member Teresa Repass said.
Other people said Jones shouldn’t be able to perform his duties anymore.
Keisha Monk said, “I feel a little like he should recuse himself because how are you going to judge me when you are breaking the law as well.”
A judge and the US Attorney’s office says this incident will not affect Jones’ previous cases.
Jones is a state Superior Court judge for Lenoir, Greene and Wayne counties, presiding over high profile cases, including one with murder suspect Kenneth Stancil. He’s also the chairman of the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission. 9 On Your Side reached out to the commission and they declined to comment.
Jones appeared in federal court Wednesday, where he was read his three charges.
If convicted of all three, he faces up to 37 years in prison and $750,000 in fines.