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Friday
Jan162015

Ex-Arkansas judge who leaked Charlize Theron adoption details pleads guilty to bribery

A former Arkansas judge pleaded guilty to bribery last week for accepted a campaign donation in exchange for reducing a jury verdict against a nursing home.

Michael Maggio was a judge on the Faulkner County Circuit Court. He could be jailed up to three years under the plea deal. A date for sentencing hasn't been set.

Maggio, 53, left, had announced that he was a candidate for a seat on the state appeals court. He ended his candidacy in March 2014.

In September 2014, the Arkansas Supreme Court removed him from the bench. Maggio admitted that he posted confidential details about actress Charlize Theron's adoption case on an online chat site. He used the pseudonym "geauxjudge."

He also suggested in a post that women seeking divorces because their husbands cheated could be better off financially by staying married.

In the bribery case, the DOJ accused him of taking a $50,000 campaign donation from an unnamed business. Two days later, he reduced a $5.2 million jury award in a negligence lawsuit to $1 million. The donation was made in July 2013.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that the company involved was the Greenbrier Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The lawsuit involved the death of a resident, the paper said.

The owner of the nursing home has denied any wrongdoing.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.