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NEW ORLEANS — Jury selection started on Monday in the public corruption trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who led the city during and after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and now faces charges he profited personally from the city's recovery.
Nagin, who was swept into office on promises of good government in 2002 and re-elected in 2006, was indicted by a federal grand jury on 21 counts of corruption, including bribery, wire fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and filing false tax returns.
Nagin was silent as he walked with a limp into the courtroom and did not answer questions from reporters.
About 150 people have been called as potential jurors for the trial that is expected to take about two weeks.
The trial is expected to begin once a jury is selected, a process that may take a few days given the number of candidates and the prominence of the defendant.
Nagin could be sentenced to 20 years in prison or more under federal sentencing guidelines if he is convicted of the charges against him, a legal expert said.
During a long federal investigation, numerous former associates of Nagin signed plea deals with the government and agreed to testify against him.
Nagin, 57, was indicted January 2013 and charged with accepting gifts that included more than $200,000 in cash and wire transfers, free vacations for him and his family, and truck loads of free granite delivered to a countertop installation company Nagin owned with his two sons.
Nagin's trial was due to begin in October 2013, but U.S. District Judge Helen Ginger Berrigan granted a last-minute delay to give Nagin's attorney, Robert Jenkins, more time to prepare.