So much for the theory mentioned here yesterday that the government might be leaning against retrying Gilbert Baker for charges related to bribery of then-Judge Mike Maggio to reduce a 2013 $5.2 million nursing home negligence verdict with campaign contributions from the owner of the nursing home.
I’d written yesterday about a sealed motion filed in Maggio’s criminal case, which defense lawyers speculated was a request for a reduction in his 10-year sentence in the case in return for his testimony for the government against Baker. Still unknown is what that sealed motion is about.
Morton wasn’t charged in the case. The government theory appeared to be that Baker, a former senator and Republican Party chair who made money working for a tort reform group financed by Morton, wanted to stay in good with the nursing home magnate. Morton sent almost a quarter of a million dollars to Baker for PACs and other purposes, including almost $50,000 worth of campaign contributions to Baker’s friend Rhonda Wood for her successful election to the Arkansas Supreme Court.
The remaining 8 counts include conspiracy to bribe an agent, Maggio, of state government that is supported in part by federal money. The other counts relate to specific wire transfers of money in the scheme between banks.
The government had until Monday to make a retrial decision and filed this late Thursday It was given permission by the judge to talk about the verdict that acquitted Baker on a central conspiracy charge but deadlocked on the other eight charges. It’s unknown if jurors agreed to talk to the U.S. attorney’s office and what they might have said about their days of deliberation.