Noted: Sentencing of former Judge Mike Maggio, who’s pleaded guilty to bribery, has been delayed again — until 10:30 a.m. Feb. 26 in federal Judge Brian Miller’s court. That’s more than 13 months after his initial plea in the case.
The hearing was rescheduled last Thursday. It had been set for Nov. 20.
The brief order makes no mention of a reason for another delay. Past speculation has been that sentencing has been delayed while prosecutors work with Maggio on information that could expand the case against others.
Maggio has said he accepted campaign contributions in return for lowering a jury verdict in a nursing home negligence case. No one else has been indicted and the charge against him identified no other participants by name. But the record indicates that Fort Smith nursing home owner Michael Morton gave campaign money to Maggio on the encouragement of former Republican Sen. Gilbert Baker. Maggio reduced a $5.2 million verdict against a Morton nursing home to $1 million. Both Baker and Morton have said they did nothing wrong and reportedly have talked to federal investigators themselves.
I checked the Maggio record because of renewed rumbling that the investigation of this case has led to the review of other political activities involving lobbyists and Arkansas political candidates. Does a delay of his hearing mean something else is in the wind? Time will tell.