By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
County Prosecutor Aaron Larue Russell Jr., 45, of 97 Joe Lumpkin Rd., Poplarville, is facing two charges from the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor.
Russell was officially charged Friday with two offenses, alteration of records and falsification of records, said Lisa Shoemaker, an officer with the State Auditor Director of Communications. He was released the same day on his own recognizance.
Two affidavits were filed in the Pearl River County Justice Court. One of those affidavits states that on Sept. 12 of this year Russell committed fraud by preparing false documentation stating that an agent of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics requested a charge of possession of a controlled substance against a defendant be “Nolle Prosequi,” or dropped. However, the affidavit states the agent did not request the charge to be dropped.
In addition, the affidavit states Russell allegedly accepted $50 from the defendant in exchange for dropping the charge and allegedly brought the money home to deposit in his personal safe.
The second affidavit states Russell conducted another such action on the same day, where he allegedly made a false entry into court records stating a Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper requested a driving while license suspended charge be dropped for a separate defendant, but the Trooper reportedly never made such a request. In exchange for dropping that charge, Russell allegedly took $25 from the defendant and allegedly deposited the money in his personal safe at his home, the affidavit states.
Shoemaker said there is the possibility of additional charges but she could not elaborate on the case at this time.
A preliminary hearing has been set for Dec. 21. The exact court and time of the hearing were not clear at press time.