Bid-rigging trial set to start

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A high-profile bid-rigging case scheduled
for trial this week has proven to be a complicated, legal minefield
that has led to months of legal wrangling.

In the end, it revolves around one question: Did a private
businessman get insider information by paying off a government
official to ensure he got lucrative state contracts?

Jury selection is set to begin Monday in U.S. District Court in
Lexington for the trial of former Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert and Kentucky highway contractor Leonard Lawson.

Prosecutors allege the two conspired to steer some $130 million in
road construction projects to Lawson's companies.

Both have entered not guilty pleas.

U.S. District Judge Karl Forester has set aside three weeks for
the trial.

Defense attorney Howard Mann and lead prosecutor Ken Taylor
declined to comment about the case on the eve of the trial, other
than to say they were ready to begin.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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