Another sealed filing today in the closed case of Mike Maggio, the former circuit judge serving a 10-year federal prison sentence for pleading guilty to taking a bribe from former Republican state chairman Gilbert Baker to reduce a $5.2 million nursing home negligence jury verdict to $1 million.
Maggi’s verdict reduction benefitted a nursing home owner from whom Baker solicited campaign funds for Maggio’s plan to run for Arkansas Court of Appeals.
Judge Brian Miller signed the sealed order today. It follows a sealed motion filed in the case on Aug. 25.
Speculation is that the U.S. attorney’s office filed a motion for a reduction in Maggio’s 10-year prison sentence as a result of his cooperation in the recent trial of Baker. Baker was acquitted on one conspiracy charge, but the jury deadlocked on another conspiracy count and seven wire fraud charges concerning money Baker funneled to Maggio’s campaign from Michael Morton, the nursing home owner who benefitted from the reduction in damages. Morton has not been charged. He testified in Baker’s trial, as did Maggio. Baker himself didn’t testify.
The government says it will retry Baker and a trial has been set in October.
I’ve asked Maggio’s attorney and the U.S. attorney for comment.
Maggio presumably would be called to testify in the retrial. He was the only witness tying Baker directly to his action.
Morton sent some $225,000 to beneficiaries with Baker as an intermediary, including $48,000 for the successful Supreme Court campaign of Baker’s friend, Rhonda Wood. Baker and Wood deleted text messages they’d sent during the critical time period in 2013, the jury heard. Other testimony tied lobbyists to illegal shell campaign contributions and showed that people listed as officers of PACs Baker had created to send money to Maggio had been unaware of the PACs’ creation.
Maggio is not currently listed in Bureau of Prison custody. He was transferred to a state facility during the recent preparation and trial of the Baker case. Where he’s currently behind held — or if he is being held — is unknown.
He began serving his 10-year sentence in July 2017, so he has served more than four years. Depending on the amount of a downward departure, if granted, Maggio could be at the point in a federal sentence where release to a halfway house is possible.