Ex-prosecutor accused of bribing witnesses not to testify

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Muncie - An ex-prosecutor and his longtime investigator face bribery charges alleging that they paid witnesses to withhold or change their testimony in a criminal case.

Former Delaware County Prosecutor Michael J. "Mick" Alexander, 61, was charged Wednesday with conspiracy to commit bribery, a felony carrying a standard four-year prison term. Jeff Hinds, 41, is charged with felony bribery.

They were arrested at Alexander's Muncie law office and led in handcuffs across the street to the Delaware County Jail before being released on $10,000 bonds. Both men were scheduled to appear at initial hearings Thursday.

Hinds allegedly persuaded Stanley Chrisp and his two adult sons, Stanley Wills and Adrian Kirtz, to change their accounts of how Alexander's client, Christopher Bryant, had pointed a gun at Wills during an August 2005 confrontation, according to probable cause affidavits signed by FBI special agent Neil Freeman.

Someone answered the phone at Alexander's office but hung up Thursday. It later rang unanswered.

Alexander, a county police officer before becoming an attorney, was elected Delaware County prosecutor in 1978 and won a second four-year term in 1982. He has been in private practice since and is a defense attorney.

At the time of the alleged bribery, Alexander was defending Bryant on charges that he had pointed a gun at Wills. He asked the court for a continuance, indicating witnesses had recanted their prior statements.

Deputy Prosecutor Joe Orick said he received statements, taken by Hinds, from Chrisp, Wills and Kirtz, indicating they were uncertain that Bryant was the man who threatened Wills, despite positively identifying him to police.

Chrisp later told Orick that he and his sons changed their statements in exchange for Hinds' promise of a $20,000 payment. Chrisp said he witnessed Hinds giving Kirtz $2,500 as a down payment. They said Alexander was in another room at his law office when they met with Hinds, but that they assumed he knew of the deal.

The FBI recorded a meeting among Kirtz, Chrisp, Hinds and Alexander in February 2007 when Kirtz faced cocaine dealing charges. During that discussion, Kirtz asked for a discount of Alexander's $50,000 fee because Bryant had not followed through on his promised $20,000 payment, according to the affidavits.

Alexander allegedly told Kirtz he would knock $5,000 off his fee, and Hinds prepared a receipt for that discount.

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