Former US judge tried to bribe witnesses

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A former judge in Arkansas had tried to bribe witnesses and an accomplice threatened to make one witness “disappear,” federal prosecutors alleged in court.
 
The accusations were made in the arraignment of former Cross County District Court Judge  Joseph Boeckmann Jr., 70, who is accused of doling out lighter sentences in exchange for sexual favours and nude photos, a report from The Associated Press revealed.
 
A dishevelled Boeckmann appeared this week at the US District Court in Little Rock, Arkansas pleading not guilty to bribery, fraud and other federal charges, the organisation noted.
 
A TIME report said a grand jury has accused the former judge of using his position “to obtain personal services, sexual contact and the opportunity to view and to photograph in compromising positions person who appeared before him in traffic and misdemeanour criminal cases in exchange for dismissing the cases.”
 
The judge faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines for the most serious charges lobbed against him, according to The Associated Press.
 
 TIME reported that federal prosecutors have indicted Boeckmann on eight counts of wire fraud, one count of federal program bribery, two counts of witness tampering and 10 counts of violating the federal Travel Act.
 
Boeckmann resigned in May after the state’s judicial review board alleged he used his judgeship to procure sex from young men and said they found the former judge in possession of more than 4,600 images of nude and semi-nude men.
 
According to U.S. Department of Justice Attorney Jonathan Kravis, two witnesses had said that an accomplice of the judge approached them with bribes to recant statements or lie to authorities.
 
One of the witnesses claimed that a third person told them that should they not recant, they “would be made to disappear or words to that effect,” Kravis said.
 
According to a separate report from The Associated Press, Federal Magistrate Judge Joe Volpe denied bond to Boeckmann who will remain in custody.
 
The magistrate said he would consider secure detention with a family member who lives far from Wynne should defence attorneys propose the alternative.
 
Wynne is where the allegations are centred, the news organisation noted.
 

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