Trial set for former Arizona regulator charged with bribery

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Gary Pierce. (Source: Gary Pierce. (Source:

A May 30 trial date has been set for former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce and three others charged in what prosecutors say was an influence-peddling scheme aimed at benefiting a water company owner.

Pierce, his wife Sherry, water company owner George Johnson and lobbyist Jim Norton pleaded not guilty to bribery and fraud charges.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Ex-AZ Corp. Commissioner, owner of Johnson Utilities indicted on bribery charges]

[ASSOCIATED PRESS: Former Arizona utility regulator indicted on bribery charges]

Prosecutors say Johnson funneled $31,000 through Norton to Pierce and his wife for favorable treatment in a rate case before the commission.

They also say Pierce also was the intended recipient of a $350,000 property that was supposed to be paid for by Johnson, though it's unknown if the transaction was in fact completed.

[READ MORE: Johnson Utilities faces allegations from ADEQ after E. coli scare]

Pierce left the commission in early 2015 because of term limits.

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