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Ex-Atlanta mayor goes on trial

  |   Jan. 23, 2006 at 7:48 PM
ATLANTA, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Opening statements began Monday in the federal corruption trial of former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell.

Campbell, who served as mayor from 1994 to 2002, is accused of taking bribes and illegal campaign contributions in exchange for giving friends city contracts, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Campbell's trial is the culmination of an investigation that dates to at least 1999 and that has already led to convictions of 10 people on charges including bribery, tax fraud and perjury. Three of those convicted worked in Campbell's administration, The New York Times reported.

The seven-count indictment alleges that Campbell took payoffs totaling more than $150,000, accepted more than $100,000 in illegal campaign contributions, filed false personal income tax returns and took gifts such as a $12,000 trip to Paris and nearly $10,000 worth of heating and air conditioning equipment for his home.

Campbell's lawyers say the case is built on shoddy evidence and unreliable witnesses who traded lenient punishment for their testimony.

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