Judge Price Marshall today said the government must decide by Aug. 30 if it wants to retry Gilbert Baker on a conspiracy and wire fraud charges in the alleged scheme to bribe a judge to reduce a verdict against nursing home owner Michael Morton.

He also said attorneys in the case may talk to jurors about their deliberations, with limits.


A jury, on the fifth day of deliberations, acquitted Baker of conspiring to bribe Mike Maggio with campaign contributions from Michael Morton, but were deadlocked on the other charges about conspiring to bribe in a case involving an agency (the court) that receives federal money and wire fraud for individual contribution checks sent to Baker by Morton through Federal Express and later deposited in PACs Baker set up to benefit Maggio. Maggio reduced a verdict against a Morton home, by $4.2 million, the day after Baker received nearly a quarter-million in checks from Morton for the PACs, Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood, a contribution to Baker’s employer UCA and money for a tort reform lobby group (money sent through straw donations to the PACs.) Maggio pleaded guilty to taking a bribe. Morton has not been charged.

The judge’s order:


The Court held a trial for Gilbert Baker beginning 23 July 2021.
Baker appeared in person and through his attorneys, Blake Hendrix
and Annie Depper. The United States was present in the persons of
Julie Peters, Pat Harris, and John Ray White. The Court seated and
swore a twelve-person jury and three alternates. The evidence
concluded on 5 August 2021. Both parties made closing arguments and
the Court instructed the jury on the law on August 6th.
On the afternoon of August 12th, the jury reported that it had
reached a unanimous verdict on Count 1 but was hopelessly
deadlocked on Counts 2-9 of the Indictment. The Court therefore
declares a mistrial as to Counts 2-9.
2. The Court directs the United States to file notice of its intent to
retry Counts 2-9, or a motion to dismiss, by 30 August 2021. The period
of delay between the declaration of a mistrial and the United States’
notice is excluded by the Speedy Trial Act. A new
trial date will be set by separate notice.
3. Motion for leave to speak with jurors and alternates,
granted with directions. Here’s the drill: The lawyers may not initiate
contact with jurors or alternates. Instead, if counsel for either party
wants willing jurors and alternates to reach out to them, then they must
submit their preferred contact information to chambers by 16 August
2021. In its post-trial letter, the Court will include that contact
information and notify the jurors and alternates that they may contact
the lawyers if they’re willing to discuss the case.