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State Sen. Malcolm Smith's corruption trial set to begin Wednesday

Queens Sen. Malcolm Smith arrives at U.S. District

Queens Sen. Malcolm Smith arrives at U.S. District Court in White Plains for jury selection for his fraud and bribery trial on June 2, 2014. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

The expected start of the federal corruption trial of one-time state Senate power broker Sen. Malcolm Smith of Queens was delayed Tuesday by glitches in seating a jury and legal wrangling.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas said opening statements would begin Wednesday morning.

Smith (D-Jamaica) and two co-defendants are charged with a bribery conspiracy to win him a place on the Republican primary ballot for mayor of New York City in 2012.

In final pretrial rulings, Karas said jurors would be allowed to hear secretly recorded discussions about published reports linking Smith to shenanigans in the award of a casino contract at Aqueduct racetrack.

Prosecutors say those conversations will help the jury understand why Smith had to pay bribes to get his name on the ballot.

The judge also said he would not let former Queens City Council member Dan Halloran, a co-defendant, offer a defense that he might be insane because of 2012 brain tumor surgery.

Karas said the possible defense, suggested on the eve of trial, was offered too late.

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