Jury Seated For Corruption Trial Of Former State Senator

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A 12-person jury and three alternates have been selected for the corruption trial of a Republican former Arkansas state senator charged with bribery, wire fraud and conspiracy.

Gilbert Baker, 64, has pleaded not guilty to funneling campaign contributions from a Fort Smith businessman to a campaign of then-Faulkner County Circuit Judge Michael Maggio, who was a candidate at the time for a seat on the state Court of Appeals.

Baker, also a former political fundraiser and a past chairman of the state Republican Party, is accused of conspiring to funnel contributions to the campaign of Maggio, who is now serving a 10-year sentence in prison for bribery.

The checks were addressed to political action committees that were primarily helping Maggio’s campaign, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

The checks arrived at Baker's home the day before Maggio reduced a $5.2 million jury verdict against a nursing home owned by the businessman, who has not been charged, to $1 million.

Opening statements in the trial are to begin Monday.