County prosecutor Aaron Russell indicted

Published 11:44 am Thursday, February 6, 2014

County prosecutor Aaron Russell was indicted on Wednesday by a grand jury.

County prosecutor Aaron Russell was indicted on Wednesday by a grand jury.

Pearl River County prosecutor Aaron Russell was arrested at his home Wednesday.

According to indictment records, Russell has been indicted by a Grand Jury in Pearl River County for “making false entries in or altering public records and fraud committed in public office.”

In a statement release Wednesday, State Auditor Stacey Pickering said, “Mr. Russell circumvented the justice system when he created and implemented an unauthorized diversion program. Mr. Russell is an elected official who abused his position and he will be held accountable for his actions.”

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The State Auditor’s office said Russell is accused of setting up and executing an unauthorized pretrial diversion program in which he accepted money from defendants in return for their charges being dropped.

The indictment states that Russell was indicted for “unlawfully, feloniously, and wittingly make a false entry, cause to be erased, or change(d) certain records belonging to the Pearl River County Justice Court” while serving as county prosecutor “with intent to defraud” the county between Sept. 12, 2012 and Sept. 30, 2012.

The second count on which Russell was indicted was “filing false documents into certain Pearl River County Justice Court files with the intent to defraud Pearl River County” during the same time period.

Russell was also arrested in October 2012 on the same charges said Brett Kittredge, communications director for the State Auditor’s office. Russell was never indicted or prosecuted for the charges in 2012.

Russell was released on a $5,000 bond, said Chief Deputy Shane Tucker with the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department.

Russell is serving his second term as county prosecutor. He was reelected in November 2011.