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Feds drop bribery case against ex-Arizona utility regulator

Posted: 10:00 AM, Aug 08, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-08 16:00:18Z

Prosecutors are dropping the bribery case against former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce and three others after their trial ended three weeks ago with a mistrial.

The U.S. Attorney's Office informed a judge Tuesday that it was dismissing all charges against Pierce, his wife Sherry, water company owner George Johnson and lobbyist Jim Norton.

Gary Pierce was accused of accepting $31,000 in bribes from Johnson in exchange for favorable regulatory decisions.

Prosecutors said the bribe was funneled to Pierce by Johnson through a political consulting firm that employed Sherry Pierce.

Norton was accused of facilitating the scheme.

All four vigorously disputed they participated in an influence-buying scheme.

The filing by prosecutors didn't say why the case was being dismissed.

The trial ended in a mistrial in mid-July after jurors deadlocked.