Criminal Justice

District attorney pleads guilty to offering payments to his prosecutors, seeking to influence officer

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A Georgia district attorney accused of offering to pay $1,000 to two staff prosecutors pleaded guilty during jury deliberations in his trial Monday.

Mark Jones pleaded guilty to four of nine charges and resigned as district attorney for the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, report the Ledger-Enquirer, WRBL and the Associated Press.

Judge Katherine Lumsden accepted the plea and sentenced Jones to one year in prison and four years of probation, according to a press release by Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr.

According to the news coverage, Jones pleaded guilty to:

Count 1: Influencing a witness. The charge is based on Jones’ profanity-laced conversation with a police officer outside a bar that was recorded on another officer’s body camera, according to the Ledger-Enquirer. Jones criticized the officer for charging a suspect with involuntary manslaughter instead of murder. Jones said the shooting was intentional because the shooter thought the victim was cheating. “You should testify to that,” he said.

Count 6: Attempted violation of oath by a public officer. Jones was accused of offering his chief assistant district attorney $1,000 for a murder conviction.

Count 7: Attempted violation of oath by a public officer. Jones was accused of offering an assistant district attorney $1,000 to tell a judge that she was ready for trial when she wasn’t.

Count 9: Violation of oath by a public officer. Jones was accused of failing to assist a crime victim in navigating the court system. The charge relates to a crime victim who had filed a motion seeking to express his dissatisfaction with how Jones’ office handled his complaints. Jones allegedly told the victim that the motion made it appear that the victim was in conflict with the district attorney’s office, and, “I’m the best friend you’ve got, bro.”

Before she sentenced Jones, Lumsden said the offenses weren’t the kind seen in some corruption cases, according to the Ledger-Enquirer coverage.

“You didn’t line your own pockets. You didn’t do some of the things that normally are involved when we think of public corruption,” Lumsden said. “But I think you got so caught up in being the DA that you forgot about the people you ran to represent.”

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