Federal Judge Price Marshall has granted the request for a delay in the retrial of Gilbert Baker, the former senator and Arkansas Republican party chair, on charges of bribing a judge to reduce a verdict in a nursing home negligence case.
Baker was acquitted of one charge, but the jury deadlocked on eight other charges and the retrial was scheduled for Oct. 4. Baker’s lawyers had conflicts that month and asked for a delay. The U.S. attorney didn’t object.
Marshall entered an order last week rescheduling the trial for May 16.
Baker arranged for nursing home magnate Michael Morton to send money for various purposes, including campaign contributions for Maggio and his friend, Judge Rhonda Wood, who was then running for Arkansas Supreme Court. Maggio’s money was filtered through PACs established by Baker and arrived as Maggio was preparing to reduce a $5.2 million verdict against a Morton nursing home to $1 million. Maggio pleaded guilty to reducing the jury verdict in return for Baker’s campaign contribution scheme. No one else has been charged except Baker.
Maggio’s 10-year sentence apparently was cut in half for his cooperation, and he is to be released from custody on Oct. 20, according to Federal Bureau of Prison records. He is being held in Atlanta, those records indicate, home to a prison, a minimum-security camp and a detention center.