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Kidnapping victim indicted for trying to bribe kidnapper before trial, officials say

A federal witness has been indicted for allegedly trying to get $5,000 in exchange for refusing to testify or for falsely testifying in his own kidnapping case.

GREENBELT, Md. — Editor's Note: The above video was published in April of 2021 following Sherman and his co-conspirator's arrest.

A federal witness faces charges after allegedly attempting to bribe the man who kidnapped him in exchange for not testifying against him during the trial.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Jolen Michael Ghorbani aka "Jay", 29, formerly of Fairfax, Virginia, for bribery of a witness and obstruction of justice. This is in connection with a criminal trial in which Ghorbani was a witness.

The indictment was returned on Oct.19 and unsealed Tuesday upon Ghorbani's arrest.

Police say Ghorbani is expected to make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Wednesday, Oct. 26.

According to the three-count indictment, on Feb. 3, Ghorbani was reportedly the victim of a kidnapping, assault and robbery committed by Tracy David Sherman and Sherman's co-conspirators. During the kidnapping, Ghorbani was taken from Maryland to Washington, D.C., where he was assaulted and robbed. Sherman was indicted and arrested on March 31, 2021, for conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

RELATED: 5 men indicted for kidnapping, robbery of a man they met at MGM Casino, DOJ says

The indictment against Ghorbani alleges that he used a social media account to send a series of direct messages to Sherman, including a message where Ghorbani sent his phone number to Sherman and said "Call me if you want to finesse trial." 

Nearly three weeks before the scheduled start of Sherman's trial, authorities say Ghorbani sent another series of messages to Sherman via his social media account. This time, soliciting a $5,000 payment from Sherman in exchange for Ghorbani's agreement to testify falsely or to refuse to testify at all. 

Ghorbani shared the messages he sent to Sherman with another individual, bragging that he was "dancing with the devil," and telling the person, "I'm auctioning off his freedom."

If convicted, Ghorbani faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison for bribery and a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for obstruction of justice, according to authorities.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

Stay with WUSA9 as we follow this story.



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