Former Ogden officer Matt Jones says he conspired to bribe trooper

Mar 19 2013 - 8:47am

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Matt Jones
Matt Jones

OGDEN -- The second of two men, one a cop, charged with trying to bribe away a drunk driving arrest has pleaded guilty.

Matt Jones entered a guilty plea to a second-degree felony bribery charge Monday before 2nd District Judge Michael Lyon, canceling his three-day trial this week.

Co-defendant Daniel J. Kotter, who was a Perry Police officer at the time of his offense, and has since been fired, pleaded guilty in November to a similar charge. His initial sentencing date in February was postponed to facilitate his testifying against Jones at trial, according to court records.

Both men will be sentenced next month -- Kotter on April 4 and Jones on April 29 by Judge Lyon.

Kotter and Jones, both 34 at the time, were charged in October 2011 with the bribery charges for a scheme to deliver $2,000 to a Utah Highway Patrol trooper on behalf of Jones, an ex-Ogden patrolman. The trooper had arrested Jones in August 2011 on a drunken-driving charge.

Jones in his plea statement signed Monday writes that he and Kotter conspired to give the trooper "a Christmas present" to let the charges drop. The trooper told Kotter, who handled the negotiations, he didn't want to wait until Christmas, according to the statement.

Jones said he didn't have the money at the time, so Kotter used $2,000 from his own bank account.

According to charging documents with Kotter's case, a number of phone

calls and text messages passed between he and Trooper Chad Jensen before an amount was agreed upon in what turned out to be a sting operation.

The two finally met in person to complete the transaction in cash on Sept. 13, 2011, on 21st Street in Ogden, where Kotter was arrested.

Previously the prosecution has only said that Jones was a knowing beneficiary of the bribery scheme.

Jones 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.

He was suspended that night after the mayor contacted then-Police Chief Jon Greiner.

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