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Ex-police officer sent to jail for bribing UHP trooper

Published: Thursday, April 11 2013 5:28 p.m. MDT

OGDEN — A former Perry police officer has been sentenced to jail and probation for trying to bribe a Utah Highway Patrol trooper for help in a DUI case.

Daniel J. Kotter, 35, was ordered to spend 90 days in jail followed by three years' probation for attempted extortion or bribery to dismiss a criminal proceeding, a third-degree felony.

Kotter pleaded guilty to the charge in November, which was reduced from a second-degree felony and could lead to an additional reduction if he successfully completes probation.

Second District Judge Michael Lyon also ordered Kotter to pay a $603 fine and will allow him to participate in work release.

Matthew Scott Jones, 35, a former Ogden police officer, was charged with DUI, a class B misdemeanor, in August 2011, two days after being pulled over by a UHP trooper, according to court documents.

After Jones' arrest, Kotter sent a text message to the trooper and asked "to talk," court documents state. The trooper spoke with Kotter over the phone, and Kotter allegedly offered him $1,000 if he would not appear at an upcoming Driver License Division hearing for Jones, his friend.

The bribe increased to $2,500 during the conversation, after it was revealed that Jones' blood-alcohol level had been about .15 — nearly twice the legal limit — and Kotter said the money could be classified as "a Christmas bonus," according to court documents.

Jones had apparently applied for a job that required him to have a commercial driver's license, which wouldn't be possible to obtain with a DUI on his record.

The trooper missed the Sept. 13, 2011, hearing and Kotter met with him afterward and handed over $2,000. Kotter was arrested after driving away from the encounter.

Kotter, who was working part-time for the Perry Police Department, was terminated in October of that year, city officials said. He had been with the department just a few weeks.

Jones had his peace officer certification revoked in 2007 after Utah's Police Officer Standards and Training found he engaged in a pattern of misconduct.

Jones pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted extortion or bribery to dismiss a criminal proceeding, a second-degree felony. Court records show his charge could also be reduced after successful completion of probation. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 29.

E-mail: emorgan@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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