By Katie Campbell | Arizona Capitol Times
Sherry Pierce says she had no idea she was doing work on behalf of water utility owner George Johnson while she was employed by KNB Consulting and her husband sat on the Arizona Corporation Commission.
“I wasn’t working for George Johnson,” she testified on June 14. “That didn’t come up.”
Pierce was the first of four defendants in the so-called “Ghost Lobby” case to testify. Her co-defendant, lobbyist Jim Norton, could take the stand as early as June 19.
Pierce’s testimony went on for two days, and in that time, she pushed back on the image of herself and her husband painted by prosecutors and their star witness, Kelly Norton.
According to the prosecution, Sherry Pierce was hired to do consultancy work for Norton’s firm, KNB Consulting, to the tune of $3,500 per month, which was paid to her by Norton but which was first paid to the firm by Johnson. Those payments, which totaled $31,500 over nine months, were allegedly bribes to gain Gary Pierce’s votes on the Commission in favor of Johnson’s water company, Johnson Utilities.
The Pierces, Jim Norton and Johnson are defending themselves against federal charges of bribery and fraud.