Corruption trial for Pa. judge begins

Feb. 7, 2011 at 10:44 AM

SCRANTON, Pa., Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Attorneys in the corruption trial of Mark Ciavarella, a former judge in Pennsylvania's Luzerne County, say they expect jury selection to take at least a week.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers were scheduled to begin questioning members of a 95-person jury pool Monday, kicking off the trial in U.S. District Court in Scranton, the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre reported.

Ciavarella faces 39 counts of honest services fraud, racketeering, money laundering, wire fraud, bribery, extortion and tax evasion, WNEP-TV, Moosic, Pa., reported.

Prosecutors allege Ciavarella and Michael Conahan, also a former judge in Luzerne County, took more than $2 million, conspiring with developer Robert Mericle and attorney Robert Powell in assigning youthful offenders to a privately run juvenile detention facility.

Conahan pleaded guilty last July to one count of racketeering. Mericle and Powell have entered guilty pleas to tax-related charges.

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