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Mon December 8, 2003
Jury Selection in Bedford Trial Begins
By Alabama Public Radio
Hamilton, AL – Attorneys in the trial of state Senator Roger Bedford hope to select a jury today to consider extortion charges.
Bedford is accused of forcing the Marion County Commission to use 75-thousand dollars in state money to buy land for an agricultural center from one of his friends. If convicted of extortion , Bedford would face up to ten years in prison and a five thousand dollar fine. He could also be removed from office. Bedford also faces attempted extortion charges after he was accused of telling commissioners they had to use three million dollars in state money to buy more land. Conviction on that charge carries a maximum of one year in prison and a two-thousand dollar fine.
Bedford has pleaded innocent, and says the charges are politically motivated.
State Representative Mike Millican is facing similar charges. His trial date has not been set.
The trial is being held in Hamilton and should last about a week.