Prosecutors: Indicted former judge tried to bribe witnesses

Federal prosecutors say a former Arkansas judge accused of giving lighter sentences to defendants in exchange for nude photos and sexual acts tried to bribe witnesses and had an accomplice threaten to make one of them “disappear.”

Joseph Boeckmann appeared disheveled as the accusations were levied during his arraignment hearing Monday in U.S. District Court in Little Rock.

The 70-year-old Boeckmann pleaded not guilty to bribery, fraud and other federal charges just hours after prosecutors unsealed a 21-count indictment.

Dozens of men have accused the former Cross County district court judge of sexual abuse and misconduct dating back decades to his time as a prosecutor.

Boeckmann’s attorney, Jeff Rosenzweig, said Monday he was not given notice of the indictment and was out of town for another case.

The magistrate judge agreed to keep Boeckmann detained until a detention hearing Wednesday.

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