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Arizona water company fighting subpoena in bribery case

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PHOENIX — A water company whose owner was charged with bribing a former Arizona utility regulator has opposed a subpoena that orders the Corporation Commission to turn over records as part of the criminal case.

Lawyers for San Tan Valley-based Johnson Utilities said the records were related to its rate case before the commission and were confidential and irrelevant to the case.

Authorities said then-Commissioner Gary Pierce voted in 2011 to let George Johnson’s company request that Johnson’s personal income taxes be covered by the utility’s customers if regulators were to allow such a practice in the future.

Pierce also has been accused of taking bribes to push rate increases through the commission.

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

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