Johnson Utilities case update: Jury selection to begin for ex-regulator accused of bribery

PHOENIX - Jury selection is scheduled to begin for a former elected Arizona utility regulator charged with accepting bribes from a water company owner in exchange for favorable decisions.

It's unclear whether opening statements will be made Wednesday at the trial of former Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce.

Authorities say water company owner George Johnson funneled $31,000 to Pierce and his wife through a consulting firm.

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Pierce also is accused of trying to arrange for the purchase of a $350,000 piece of land that would be paid for by Johnson.

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

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

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