Judge orders two former police officers to stand trial in bribery case

Jun 15 2012 - 8:58pm

OGDEN -- A judge Friday ordered two former police officers advanced to trial on charges of bribery.

Daniel Kotter, 34, since fired by the Perry Police Department, and Matt Jones, 34, were charged in October with one count each of bribery, a second-degree felony. Kotter is accused of bribing a Utah Highway Patrol trooper on behalf of his friend Jones, an ex-Ogden patrolman.

Jones was arrested in August on a drunken driving charge by UHP. Kotter was arrested in September, pursuant to the bribery investigation, and suspended by the Perry police force.

When the bribery charges were filed Oct. 12, Kotter was terminated from his part-time position with the Perry force. He remains employed as a security guard at Hill Air Force Base, according to a Hill spokesman, who declined to detail Kotter's status further.

After a preliminary hearing on the charges Friday, 2nd District Judge Michael Lyon ruled evidence sufficient to advance both men to trial.

A Nov. 13 jury trial was scheduled for Kotter, Nov. 26 for Jones. An Aug. 31 deadline was set for Jones' defense attorney, Brenda Beaton, to file any pretrial motions.

In the bribery case, according to charging documents, Kotter contacted a UHP trooper on Sept. 7, about Jones' DUI arrest.

Kotter, the court files state, offered the trooper $1,000 not to appear at a state driver's license division hearing for Jones.

The trooper told Kotter that Jones' blood-alcohol level was 0.15, or nearly twice the legal limit. Kotter then offerred the trooper $2,500, according to a search warrant affidavit. Neither offer was consummated at the time.

After a number of text messages and phone calls, the two met again Sept. 13 on 21st Street in Ogden in an apparent sting operation. Kotter allegedly gave the trooper $2,000 in cash in exchange for a promise not to show up to the hearing.

If a police officer fails to show up at an individual's driver's license hearing, no action can be taken against the driver, according to state law. Kotter was arrested following the Sept. 13 meeting.

The prosecution has only said that Jones was a knowing participant in the alleged bribery scheme. Jones, now of Plain City, was fired in 2007 by the Ogden Police Department, citing disciplinary problems.

Jones achieved some political notoriety the previous year. He was suspended in July 2006 when then-Mayor Matthew Godfrey spotted Jones' wife driving a van adorned with a sign criticizing the city's ticket-writing policy, followed by Jones in another vehicle.

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