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Posted: March 13, 2009 12:00 a.m.

FBI charges local with extortion, conspiracy

Defendants worked in DeKalb County court system

A Newton County man was arrested and charged after an FBI investigation allegedly uncovered a bribery scheme that involved trading lighter prison terms for cash.

Keith L. Hughes, 39, was one of two people working in DeKalb's Office of Pretrial Services that has been charged with conspiracy and extortion after an accused drug trafficker allegedly told FBI agents he had been offered a reduced sentence or a dismissal of his case for $25,000.

Hughes is accused of working with a co-worker, Natalie Nicole Dunn, a court probation officer for DeKalb County. He reportedly admitted to undercover agents that he had previously helped fix criminal cases, according to an FBI affidavit.

Agents confronted Dunn and she allegedly admitted both her and Hughes' involvement in the bribery scheme and reportedly told agents the two had previously accepted bribes from other criminal defendants in the county.

Hughes appeared before a federal magistrate judge Tuesday and was released on bond.

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