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Long IslandNassau

Jury pick in bribery case off to slow start

Jury selection in the corruption trial of four men, including two former legislators got off to a slow start Monday when many prospective panelists could not commit to several months in court.

Three groups of 70 potential jurors were brought in to Nassau County Supreme Court throughout the day. After Justice Alan Honorof told them the trial of two former Nassau County legislators, a former town official and a former development agency director would last two to three months, many left the room to rejoin the jury pool because they said they could not commit that much time. Those potential jurors probably would be assigned to another trial, Honorof said.

The 14 people who said they could devote that much time to a trial are to report back to court Wednesday. Jury selection will continue Tuesday.

A panel of 12 jurors and at least two alternates is needed for the trial of former legislators Patrick Williams, 63, of Uniondale, and Roger Corbin, 65, of Westbury, North Hempstead's former Community Development Agency director Neville Mullings, 70, of Westbury, and former town building and planning commissioner David Wasserman, 53, of Roslyn Heights.

The men were indicted in July 2010 on allegations of fraud, official misconduct and grand larceny for allegedly taking the proceeds of a public project. The charges stemmed from a three-year district attorney's investigation of an $80 million New Cassel revitalization project. The men are accused of steering the project to Ranjan Batheja in exchange for $400,000 in bribes. Batheja was arrested in late 2010 and charged with bribery. It is unclear how his case is proceeding.

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