A Maryland judge fatally shot himself just as federal law enforcement showed up to his home to arrest him on child porn charges Friday morning, authorities said.

Caroline County Circuit Court Judge Jonathan Newell, 50, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound by FBI agents at around 6:43 a.m., according to the Maryland US Attorney’s Office.

The feds were at the judge’s Henderson home to arrest him on a complaint charging him with sexual exploitation of a child for allegedly filming teenage boys in the nude in his hunting cabin, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Neighbors reported that the FBI had arrived just after 6 a.m. demanding Newell come outside with his hands up before they heard a gun shot.

Newell had been on leave since July, after one of several boys that the judge had brought on a hunting trip on Hoopers Island discovered a hidden camera in the bathroom and called his parents, according to court documents obtained by the Sun.

At least two of the boys told investigators that Newell checked them for ticks when they were naked.

“One stated that he moved his own genitalia for Newell to look for ticks, and the other initially did not recall if Newell touched his genitalia, but later stated that Newell once or twice moved the minor’s genitalia to look for ticks,” FBI Special Agent Rachel Corn wrote in the complaint.

Agents raided Newell’s home, truck and law office, and said they found a hard drive in his den that contained numerous videos of naked young men showering. Newell was captured on the footage setting the camera up and in one clip, could be seen searching a naked young man for ticks, the Sun reported.

Newell denied setting up the camera — but investigators said they caught him trying to chew up and swallow a memory card when he was first confronted with the allegations.

“The investigator heard a loud, distinguishable, ‘crunch,’ sound from the area of Newell’s mouth,” the FBI wrote in charging documents.

“After another minute or two, the investigator heard the same ‘crunch’ again from Newell’s mouth, followed by Newell immediately reaching for and drinking from a cup located on his dresser.”

Investigators forced Newell to take a CT scan at a nearby hospital, which revealed a “foreign object” believed to be the missing memory card from the camera.

The federal prosecutors said that Maryland State Police “will lead the investigation into the apparent suicide.”

Newell’s defense attorneys issued a short statement to the Sun, saying: “Our hearts break for Judge Newell’s family, especially for his two sons with whom he was very close.”

Newell had been a judge since 2016 and a leading prosecutor in the county for more than a decade.



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