Criminal Justice

District attorney is accused of offering bribes to prosecutors, suborning perjury

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A district attorney in Georgia was indicted Tuesday based on accusations that he offered $1,000 bribes to two prosecutors and tried to influence a police officer’s testimony.

The indictment accuses Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Mark Jones in Georgia of trying to influence a police officer to testify that a shooting suspect thought the victim had been cheating on him, providing a motive for a murder charge, report the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer and the Associated Press. A Sept. 7 press release from Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr is here.

According to WTVM, the shooting suspect was charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct. The police officer had said he thought the suspect accidentally fired his gun, according to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

Jones is also accused of offering to give $1,000 each to two prosecutors to obtain a murder conviction and also offering $1,000 to one of the prosecutors to falsely say she was ready for a murder trial.

Another count accuses Jones of using a threat and misleading conduct to prevent a person’s testimony in a victim impact statement. He is also accused of failing to assist the person “through the complexities of the criminal justice system,” according to the indictment.

Jones is facing prior, unrelated charges in connection with the making of a campaign video that featured drivers cutting doughnuts in a civic center parking lot, leaving tire marks on the pavement. He is scheduled to go to trial next week on charges of first-degree criminal damage, interfering with government property and conspiracy, according to the Associated Press.

Jones was elected and took office in January.

After he bonded out of jail on the new charges, Jones told reporters after that he hadn’t seen the indictment and didn’t know the specifics of the nine charges against him, report the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer and WRBL.

“I got a call that said I had a warrant out at about 2 o’clock today,” Jones said. “Then there was a bunch of charges, and I looked at them. And they’re saying some crazy stuff about me, so I turned myself in immediately.”

“I didn’t take any bribe. I didn’t influence any witness. I didn’t try to suborn perjury. So I don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said in a video posted by WRBL.

The new charges against Jones, all felonies, are two counts of violation of oath by a public officer, two counts of attempted violation of oath by a public officer, two counts of bribery, two counts of influencing witnesses, and one count of attempted subornation of perjury.

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