Columbus DA Takes Plea Deal in the Middle of Jury Deliberations in Public Corruption Case

While the jury entered day two of deliberations in his public corruption case, Columbus District Attorney Mark Jones jockeyed a plea deal and agreed to resign from office.

It all happened Monday after the jury reported back to the judge that it had reached a unanimous verdict on five of the nine charges.The jury on Friday told the court that it had a unanimous decision on three counts after six hours of deliberation.

Jones ultimately pleaded guilty to four of the nine counts on his indictment. He was sentenced to five years in prison with one to serve and a $1,000 fine. He submitted his resignation letter to Governor Brian Kemp on Monday as well.

Jones was facing nine felony counts, including Violation of Oath by a Public Officer (two counts), Attempted Violation of Oath by a Public Officer (two counts), Bribery (two counts), Influencing a Witness (two counts), and one count of Attempted Subornation of Perjury. In all, he faced a maximum of fifty years in prison if convicted on all counts.

The counts Jones entered a guilty plea on include:

  1. Influencing witnesses by telling a police detective to lie under oath. 
  2. Attempted violation of an oath of office, by trying to get an assistant district attorney to accept $1,000. 
  3. Attempted violation of an oath of office, by trying to get an assistant district attorney to accept $1,000. 
  4. Violating his oath by not assisting the nephew of a homicide victim in navigating the court system.

The Columbus Ledger Enquirer reported that Jones asked to return Friday to turn himself in, but Judge Katherine Lumsden ordered him to be taken into custody immediately. A juror also told the news outlet that a guilty verdict had been reached on counts 4,5,6, 7 and 8
More on the background of the case here.

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of The Georgia Virtue. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta, a commentator on the 'Let Me Tell You Why You're Wrong Podcast,' and she has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers." Sign up for her weekly newsletter:

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