- Associated Press - Friday, May 26, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) - The Latest on bribery and fraud charges that have been filed against a former Arizona utility regulator, his wife, a lobbyist and a utility owner (all times local):

2:36 p.m.

A Democratic gubernatorial candidate is calling on Gov. Doug Ducey to disclose any contacts he has had with a lobbyist who’s charged with participating in a scheme to bribe a state utility regulator.

The campaign for David Garcia says the Republican governor is a friend of lobbyist Jim Norton and pointed out that utility owner George Johnson contributed money to Ducey’s 2014 campaign.

Johnson also is charged with bribery.

Ducey’s office didn’t immediately return a call Friday afternoon.

Former Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce was charged with bribery and fraud in what prosecutors said was a scheme to funnel $31,000 to him and arrange his purchase of a $350,000 property in exchange for favorable votes for Johnson.

Norton says he’s innocent of the charges.

2:22 p.m.

A lobbyist charged with participating in a scheme to bribe an Arizona utility regulator says he’s innocent of the allegations.

Jim Norton says in a statement Friday that he’s confident that the bribery and fraud charges will be shown to be without merit.

Former Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce was charged with bribery and fraud in what prosecutors said was a scheme to funnel $31,000 to him and arrange his purchase of a $350,000 property in exchange for favorable votes for the owner of a utility.

Norton is accused of acting as a go-between between Pierce and the utility owner and aiding in the real estate transaction.

His statement says the case hangs on the assertions of an unnamed consulting firm owner who authorities said helped funnel payments to Pierce.


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