Ex-Arizona regulator charged with bribery heads to trial

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Gary Pierce (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Gary Pierce (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (AP) -

A trial is scheduled to begin Wednesday for a former elected Arizona utility regulator charged with accepting bribes from a water company owner in exchange for favorable decisions.

Authorities say the water company owner funneled $31,000 to Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce and his wife through a consulting firm.

[RELATED: Several big names on witness list in corruption trial involving Johnson Utilities]

Prosecutors say Pierce tried to arrange for the purchase of a $350,000 piece of land in Mesa that would be paid for by water company owner George Johnson.

An indictment doesn't make clear what became of the property purchase, but one of the defense attorneys in the case has said the transaction never occurred.

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

Pierce, his wife Sherry, Johnson and lobbyist Jim Norton have pleaded not guilty to bribery and other charges.

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