A former Perry police officer will spend time behind bars after pleading guilty to attempted extortion for trying to bribe a state trooper to keep a friend from losing his license because of a drunken driving arrest.
Daniel Kotter was originally charged in 2nd District Court with a second-degree felony, but the charge was reduced to a third-degree felony after reaching a plea deal.
On Thursday, Judge Michael Lyon suspended a zero-to-five-years prison sentence in favor of 36 months probation and 90 days in the Davis County jail, along with a $600 fine. Kotter was allowed work release from jail, according to court documents, and will be allowed to have the charge reduced once he successfully completes probation.
Kotter was accused in September 2011 of offering a Utah Highway Patrol trooper $1,000 to not appear at a Utah Driver License Division hearing for Matthew Scott Jones, who had previously been an Ogden police officer and Weber County sheriff’s deputy.
The two men communicated several times via texts and phone conversations, several of which the trooper recorded.
"... Kotter told [the trooper] that he did not want to call it a ‘b-r-i-b-e’ but a Christmas bonus," investigators wrote in Kotter’s arrest warrant.
Jones was getting a job where he needed a commercial driver license, Kotter said, and didn’t want to lose his license over the DUI.
Kotter also asked what Jones’ blood-alcohol level had been. When the trooper replied via text message it was about 0.15, almost double the legal limit, Kotter upped his offer to $2,500.
After a hearing was scheduled with the Driver License Division, Kotter met with the trooper at a Phillips 66 convenience store in Ogden and gave him $2,000 in cash in exchange for skipping the hearing.
Kotter was arrested as he drove away from the store.
According to the Perry Police Department, Kotter was a part-time officer who was only employed for a few months before the incident.
Jones has pleaded guilty to offering a bribe to a public servant, a second-degree felony. He will be sentenced on April 29.
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