LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A former Arkansas senator and lobbyist expressed thankfulness after a years-long legal battle ended with charges being dismissed on Monday.
Gilbert Baker released a statement Tuesday thanking his legal team for its efforts after difficult years as his case wound through the court system. Court records show that the indictment against the 66-year-old Baker was initially filed in 2019 and the charges were dismissed by United States District Judge D.P. Marshall Jr. on Oct. 24.
“The last 8 or 9 years have been very difficult. But these years have been good for me personally. I am grateful,” Baker’s statement said, concluding “At the end of it all ….. the US legal system worked!!”
Baker had represented Arkansas District 30 as a Faulkner County Republican from 2001 to 2012. Before that, he was the chair of the county Republican Party.
The case was initially tried in August 2021, ending when Baker was acquitted on one conspiracy charge, with the jury hanging on the eight remaining charges of bribery and wire fraud. Due to the hung jury, the judge declared a mistrial.
Baker was due to be retried on those charges in November, but the government asked the judge to dismiss charges on Oct. 20. The judge agreed to dismiss the charges in the Oct. 24 order.
The charges were dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning the charges may not be brought against Baker again.
Baker’s charges originated in the sentencing of then Circuit Judge Michael Maggio in 2015 after he pleaded guilty to bribery. The bribery scheme was alleged between Maggio and nursing home operator Michael Morton in 2013, with Baker as an intermediary.
Morton has denied involvement in any bribery scheme and has never been indicted.