Opening arguments heard in first of 2 James trials

Former Newark Mayor Sharpe James was in court Monday during opening arguments of the first of two corruption trials he is facing.

Prosecutors told a jury that James abused his office by steering discounted city-owned properties to his girlfriend, Tamika Riley. James is accused of arranging for the sale of nine properties to Riley at a discounted rate of $46,000. According to prosecutors, Riley then sold the properties for $665,000.

James? defense attorney says his client never tried to influence the City Council, which had to approve the land sales.

During the trial, which is expected to last several months, jurors will hear from members of James? security detail.

After this trial, James is expected to be tried on charges he used city-issued credit cards to pay for $58,000 worth of personal expenses while he was mayor, including trips with several women other than his wife.

AP wire reports contributed to this story.

Juryselection begins for ex-Newark Mayor JamesJudgerejects request to delay Sharpe James trialEx-Newarkmayor pleads not guilty to corruption

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