LITTLE ROCK — Former circuit judge Michael Maggio has failed to establish a fair and just reason to withdraw his guilty plea to a federal bribery charge, the U.S. attorney’s office in Little Rock argued Thursday in a court filing.

LITTLE ROCK — Former circuit judge Michael Maggio has failed to establish a fair and just reason to withdraw his guilty plea to a federal bribery charge, the U.S. attorney’s office in Little Rock argued Thursday in a court filing.


Maggio, former circuit judge for the 20th Judicial District, filed a motion earlier this month seeking to withdraw his January 2015 plea of guilty to the charge of theft or bribery concerning programs receiving public funds. In a response, government prosecutors said Thursday that Maggio’s motion "is a clear attempt to escape the consequences of his criminal corruption and should be rejected."


Prosecutors say that in 2013 Maggio reduced a Faulkner County jury’s award of $5.2 million to $1 million in a civil suit in exchange for thousands of dollars in contributions to his campaign for the Arkansas Court of Appeals, which he later ended.


Maggio has argued that no public funds were involved, that there was no exchange of judicial action for campaign contributions and that his attorneys at the time pressured him to enter the plea.


Federal prosecutors argued in their response that the charge does not require that federal funds be involved and that the facts show there was an explicit quid-pro-quo arrangement between Maggio and a party in the civil suit. They also said the government reserves the right to call Maggio’s former attorneys to testify if he persists in claiming he was pressured by them.


Maggio had been scheduled to be sentenced Friday, but his sentencing has been postponed. Instead, a hearing on his motion to withdraw his plea is set for Friday.