Prosecutors ask to drop charges against Arkansas ex-senator

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to dismiss wire fraud and bribery charges against a former Arkansas state senator who was set to face trial next month for a second time after a jury deadlocked last year.

Gilbert Baker, who also served as a former chairman of the state Republican party, was accused of conspiring with a former state judge who admitted to lowering a jury’s award in a negligence lawsuit in exchange for campaign contributions.

The judge, Mike Maggio, pleaded guilty to bribery in 2015 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

In August 2021, a federal jury acquitted Baker of bribery conspiracy and deadlocked on another bribery charge and seven wire fraud charges. He was set to go on trial again Nov. 8, but prosecutors filed a motion Thursday seeking to dismiss the indictment against Baker.

The motion did not give a reason for the dismissal and a judge must still approve it.

Baker’s attorney, Blake Hendrix, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he was preparing to go to trial up until he received the motion. He declined to comment until the indictment is dismissed.

Baker’s case was among several corruption cases filed against lawmakers and lobbyists in recent years.

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