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FORT WORTH (AP) – A prison inmate has been indicted on a charge that he tried to hire someone to kill a North Texas federal judge.

Authorities say a federal grand jury in Fort Worth indicted Phillip Monroe Ballard on Wednesday.

Ballard was in federal custody in Fort Worth last fall when he was charged with soliciting the murder of the judge set to preside over his trial on tax-related charges.

Authorities say he told another inmate that he’d pay $100,000 to a hit man and contacted an undercover FBI agent posing as a hit man several times to discuss the plan and arrange payments.

If convicted, the 71-year-old Ballard faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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