RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina state judge was arrested Wednesday on charges he allegedly tried to bribe an FBI officer to collect text messages between two phone numbers in what the judge said was a family matter.
Superior Court Judge Arnold Jones II, who hears cases in three rural eastern North Carolina counties, was scheduled to appear in federal court for an initial hearing later Wednesday.
Jones approached the unnamed FBI officer a month ago, and the two met in Goldsboro on Tuesday to exchange $100 for a disk supposedly containing the data, prosecutors said in a statement.
It’s illegal for law officers like an FBI agent to demand text or phone information from a phone company without an approved search warrant in an active case. Jones faces federal charges of paying a bribe to a public official, paying a gratuity to a public official, and corruptly attempting to influence an official proceeding.
A criminal indictment filed in federal court said Jones wanted copies of text messages between two phones made secretly.
“This involved family so I don’t want anyone to know,” the indictment quotes Jones as saying.
The FBI officer told Jones he asked a federal magistrate and was approved for a search warrant to get the text messages, the indictment said.
Jones’ judicial district covers Wayne, Lenoir and Greene counties.