Mike Maggio of Conway, a former Circuit Court judge who pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges in U.S. District Court last year, is now asking a federal judge to allow him to withdraw the guilty plea, the AP reports. He was scheduled to be sentenced in two weeks. The offense carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
His new attorney filed the request today, arguing that Maggio’s previous attorneys had given him bad advice in suggesting a guilty plea.
The original negotiated plea was likely predicated on Maggio’s cooperation with the government. Speculation has been that the unusually long delay in sentencing was because prosecutors were at work with Maggio trying to expand the case to include others. The government has been silent about plans for any potential additional indictments.
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. Neither Baker nor Morton have been charged with a crime. Both have said they did nothing wrong.
Perhaps something has happened that’s led Maggio to believe that prosecutors will not be able to make a case against others and that’s made him want to withdraw his guilty plea.