updated 5/24/2005 1:55:54 PM ET 2005-05-24T17:55:54

The verdict reading in the trial of tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky entered its seventh day on Tuesday, and with apparently hundreds of pages still to be read aloud it was unclear when the court might reach its final statements on guilt and sentencing.

The summation of evidence and testimony so far has indicated the court will find Russia’s once-richest man guilty on charges included fraud and tax evasion in the politically sensitive case.

Khodorkovsky supporters say he is being targeted by authorities for his funding of opposition parties. But demonstrators this week have been unable to get close to the courthouse because the street is full of road-repair equipment.

On Tuesday, dozens of trucks and rollers were outside the courthouse, but only a handful of workers were seen. Khodorkovsky’s lawyers claim the equipment is being placed there specifically to keep demonstrators away.

“It’s a record for the circumstances — in terms of the number of police (outside the courthouse), the volume of construction equipment,” defense lawyer Yelena Liptser said.

She also complained about the slow pace of the reading, saying it was aimed at diverting attention from the verdict.

“It’s become clear that, as were saying at the start, this has been done to reduce interest” in the verdict, she said. For most of the process, the verdict has been read for only three to four hours a day, although on Monday the reading sessions totaled about seven hours.

Prosecutors are seeking the maximum 10-year sentence for Khodorkovsky, who has been incarcerated since his dramatic arrest in October 2003, when his plane was stormed by special forces as it sat on the tarmac of a Siberian airport.

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