Jury selection begins in Newark for accused weapons dealer

(12/06/04) NEWARK Jury selection began Monday in the trial of a man accused of trying to sell a shoulder-fired missile to terrorists.

The defendant, Hemant Lakhani, was arrested at a hotel near Newark Liberty International Airport last August. Authorities say he set up a deal to sell the missile to what he thought was a Somali terrorist group. In reality, authorities say the individual interested in purchasing the weapon was an undercover agent.

Lakhanis attorney says it will take approximately two to three weeks to whittle the pool of 630 potential jurors down to the final 12. Four people were questioned Monday and two were eliminated.

Lakhani has pleaded not guilty, claiming entrapment on the part of the government.

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