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Array of Arizona politicians, lobbyists connected to Pierces bribery case

Posted by   /  May 18, 2018  /  No Comments

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By Katie Campbell | Arizona Capitol Times

Ken Bennett, Bob Burns among 82 to testify

The bribery trial of a former regulator, a utility owner and a lobbyist has tentacles that stretch to many others in Arizona’s political universe – some more than others.

Take for example Corporation Commissioner Bob Burns, who has been interviewed by federal investigators on the case. He’s been described by defense attorneys as a “rogue commissioner” determined to “burn down the house at the Arizona Corporation Commission.”

His wife, Gayle Burns, is portrayed in defense motions as a “mother figure” to Kelly Norton, the government’s star witness and ex-wife of Jim Norton, a lobbyist who has been indicted.

And then there is former Secretary of State and former Senate President Ken Bennett.

Bennett told the Arizona Capitol Timeshe was asked to be a character witness for Sherry Pierce, who was also indicted alongside her husband, former Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce. The Burnses and Bennett are among 82 prospective witnesses who may be called to testify at the trial scheduled to begin May 30. The Pierces, Jim Norton and Johnson Utilities owner George Johnson face charges of felony conspiracy, bribery, mail fraud and five counts of wire fraud.

They have pleaded not guilty.

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