Feds drop bribery case against utility regulator

PHOENIX - 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.
    
 

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