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NC judge fighting his bribery conviction

Posted November 14

Superior Court Judge Arnold Jones II
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— A Superior Court judge is fighting his conviction on corruption charges.

A federal court jury last month found Judge Arnold O. Jones II guilty of paying bribes, paying gratuities and attempted corrupt influence of an official proceeding.

Federal prosecutors say Jones asked a Wayne County deputy last year to obtain text messages from his wife, who the judge believed was having an affair. The pair met in Goldsboro to exchange $100 for a disk supposedly containing the texts. Jones initially offered to give the officer "a couple cases of beer" for his help but later agreed to $100 in cash, authorities said.

The defense argued at trial that the deputy never obtained the texts and that the government never linked Jones' actions to "official acts" that violated the law.

In a motion filed Nov. 3, Jones' attorneys suggest the deputy might have been biased against Jones because the judge had ruled against him in various cases. The defense wasn't allowed to cross-examine the deputy about that bias or about internal investigations and a federal civil rights lawsuit pending against him, which deprived Jones of his right to confront his accuser, according to the motion.

In a second motion, the defense argues that the deputy doesn't qualify as a "public official" under federal bribery statutes because his involvement with a U.S. Marshals Service task force was limited to investigating potential terror plots, so the first two charges against Jones should be dismissed.

Jones, who lost his re-election bid last week after eight years as a Superior Court judge, is scheduled to be sentenced in January. He faces a maximum sentence of 37 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.

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