Police: Schoharie County man bribed a juror

A Schoharie County man is facing 15 years in prison after allegedly offering $10,000 to bribe a juror while he was on trial for drug charges.

State Police said Michael Bell, 37, reportedly approached a juror while in a public location in the town of Amsterdam and offered the person money in order to influence their decision, according to a news release. The juror refused Bell’s request and was dismissed from the trial proceedings.

Bell was charged on Wednesday with bribing a juror and taken into custody at Montgomery County Court. He was later arraigned in Palantine Town Court and sent to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility without bail.

NewsChannel 13 reported in September 2022 that Bell was arrested for allegedly selling drugs in Montgomery County. His trial began on Monday.

Bell was arrested in September after an investigation by the Amsterdam Police Department and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office into the sale and distribution of controlled substances.  

Bell pleaded guilty on Thursday to two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance.

He is expected to get 15 years in prison when sentenced on Nov. 13.

The prison term will satisfy any charges that may have stemmed from the bribery arrest.

Bell has two previous felony convictions including a conviction for criminal sex act.

“Our office remains committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our community, and this conviction sends a strong message that drug-related activities will not be tolerated,” said Montgomery County District Attorney Lorraine Diamond in a news release.