Trial for Judge Peterson reveals new details on FBI probe - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Trial for Judge Peterson reveals new details on FBI probe

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By Alicia Eakin - bio | email

July 8, 2008

Valdosta - Testimony from the trial of a suspended judge today revealed a federal probe into the Alapaha Judicial Circuit has been going on for years.

Linda Peterson is the Associate Magistrate Judge in Clinch County charged with extortion, perjury, and false statement.

At Peterson's trial today, tapes from an FBI informant were played in which Peterson could be heard talking.  The tapes dated back to March of 2006. 

According to the proceedings, the FBI wired Eddie Tucker who participated in a staged drug arrest.  He was then sent to Peterson's office to discuss his $50,000 bond.

The FBI says she suggested to Tucker that he use her father as his bail bondsman and the money would be used for home renovations. 

In another recorded interview, Peterson told the FBI she was joking and did not recall ever suggesting any family member write a bond.

They also played a tape on which Peterson is heard telling Judge Brooks Blitch that if she's asked about it by the grand jury or investigators, she would say she couldn't remember.  That conversation was recorded by a microphone hidden in the office of Judge Blitch.

Attorneys for both parties questioned FBI Agent Anthony Smith about the contents of those tapes.  Clinch County Chief Magistrate Judge Annie Ruth Steedley was also called to testify.

The case will continue Wednesday morning at 9:00.