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Mississippi: Diaz jury seated

The Clarion-Ledger reports: A jury of ten women and two men was selected today for the judicial bribery trial of Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz Jr., a wealthy Gulf Coast attorney and two former judges.

U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate says opening arguments will begin June 1.

Attorney Paul Minor is accused of buying favorable decisions from Diaz, former Circuit Judge John Whitfield and former Chancery Judge Wes Teel. ...

Prosecutors have alleged, among other things, that Minor guaranteed a loan for approximately $75,000 and provided checks and cash to Diaz. The government also has identified amounts they claim were given to the other judges.

Attorney Abbe Lowell of Washington, Minor's attorney, has maintained that the payments were campaign contributions, which were similar to those made by other Mississippi attorneys. Lowell says U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton singled Minor out because Minor won a large settlement from a business owned by one of Lampton's relatives. He has also claimed Lampton set his sights on Minor because of political differences. -- Jury seated in bribery case of Supreme Court justice - The Clarion-Ledger