Wayne Co. judge convicted of trying to bribe FBI agent

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – It took a federal jury just over 30 minutes to find a Wayne County judge guilty of three corruption charges after prosecutors produced a video they said showed the judge exchanging money on the steps of the Wayne County Courthouse in his judicial robe.

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

Federal officials said Superior Court Judge Arnold Jones gave, offered and promised cases of beer and $100 to a FBI Task Force Officer to influence him to compel Verizon to produce Jones’ wife’s text messages, and to disclose those messages to Jones.

Prosecutors said Jones wanted the text messages because he believed his wife was having an affair. The FBI officer immediately reported it, and Jones was charged after he exchanged money for a disk he believed contained the texts on the courthouse steps, federal officials said.

Jone was charged and convicted of paying bribes, paying gratuities and attempted corrupt influence of an official proceeding. Jones is a state Superior Court judge for Lenoir, Greene and Wayne counties, and was running for reelection.

Sentencing of Jones will take place during the court’s January 23, 2017, term.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys William M. Gilmore and Adam F. Hulbig prosecuted the case on behalf of the government.

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