Feds drop bribery case against ex-Arizona utility regulator

PHOENIX (AP) - 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.


Follow Jacques Billeaud at twitter.com/jacquesbilleaud. His work can be found at https://bit.ly/2GGWEPO.