- Associated Press - Thursday, February 15, 2018

PHOENIX (AP) - A judge has rejected a lobbyist’s request to delete several allegations in an indictment that accuses him of serving as a middle man in a scheme to bribe an Arizona utility regulator on behalf of a water company owner.

U.S. District Judge John Tuchi ruled Wednesday that the request by lobbyist Jim Norton was moot.

Norton wanted to cut an allegation he acted as a go-between for then-Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce and company owner George Johnson in arranging the purchase of a $350,000 property for Pierce in exchange for favorable votes for Johnson’s business.

The indictment alleges Johnson funneled $31,000 through Norton to Pierce and Pierce’s wife for favorable treatment in a rate case.

Prosecutors opposed Norton’s request.

Pierce, his wife, Norton and Johnson pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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