A former judge in Faulkner County, Arkansas pleaded guilty earlier this month to accepting a bribe in exchange for reducing a nursing home negligence verdict. The verdict was reduced from $5.2 million to $1 million.
Michael A. Maggio, 53 admitted that he was “improperly influenced” by campaign contributions for his plans to run for an appellate court seat. At the time of his appellate seat campaign, Maggio was a Faulkner County Circuit Court judge.
It is not clear how much Maggio’s campaign received, however, a plea agreement filed in the Eastern District of Arkansas provides some details into the bribe. It says that as much as $24,000 in campaign contributions may have been at issue.
The maximum sentence for Maggio’s bribery case is 10 years. However, the plea agreement, which is not binding, suggests a sentence of 30 to 37 months. According to the ABA Journal article, the former Arkansas judge will be sentenced at a later date.
Not the first “Lapse in Judgment”
This is not the first time the Faulkner County Judge’s practices have been under fire. Maggio was permanently removed from the bench last year after he allegedly discussed confidential adoption information regarding actress Charlize Theron in an online forum.
Maggio, under the pseudonym “gauxjudge” did not oversee Theron’s adoption case himself, however, it was handled in the court division in which he served. Not only did the judge leak personal details about Theron’s adoption, but he also cracked inappropriate jokes about both the actress and the child.
“I offered to be the baby daddy,” Mike Maggio mentioned in the comments. Continuing, “…did she get herself a black baby? Yep.
Maggio apologized after the details of his ethical violation became public. “I apologize for my lapse in personal judgment and I have no excuse”
Civil Suit against the former Judge
Maggio, along with other defendants, is facing a civil suit in the nursing home case. Plaintiffs allege that campaign contributions influenced Maggio’s decision-making concerning the jury verdict.