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Covington man sentenced in federal court

COVINGTON -- Keith L. Hughes, 39, of Covington, the former coordinator of the DeKalb County Office of Pretrial Services, was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to two years, 11 months in federal prison.

Hughes, along with co-defendant Natalie Nicole Dunn, 33, of Ellenwood, a former DeKalb County State Court probation officer, was convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act extortion under color of official right in a criminal charge-fixing scheme.

According to court testimony, an individual reported that after his arrest for drug offenses in DeKalb County, Dunn offered to ensure that he received a dismissal of his pending criminal charges in exchange for a $25,000 payment to Dunn and Hughes. In December, at the direction of the FBI, the source paid Dunn two $5,000 installments to ensure dismissal of the source's criminal charges.

In December, the source also met with Hughes and Dunn inside Hughes' office at the DeKalb County Courthouse. During that meeting, Hughes told the source that he and Dunn would falsely report to the DeKalb County district attorney that the source was cooperating in the investigation of others. By doing so, Hughes said that he could ensure that the source's pending drug trafficking charge was dismissed.

Hughes and Dobbs both pled guilty in the summer.

"Using one's position for personal gain negates any sense of fairness and justice," FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Greg Jones said. "The FBI understands this and it is for this reason that we aggressively pursue such conduct that jeopardizes the underlying fabric of the criminal justice system."

After their prison sentences, both defendants will be required to serve three years of supervised release and perform community service. Hughes will also be required to pay a fine of $2,500.