, Corbin, KY

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January 28, 2010

Jury begins deliberating Ky. bid-rigging case

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A jury has begun deliberations in the corruption trial of a former Kentucky cabinet official and an influential contractor accused of scheming to influence millions of dollars worth of state highway projects.

The panel got the case around 2 p.m. Thursday after receiving some lengthy instructions from the judge.

Earlier Thursday, attorneys for former Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert and road contractor Leonard Lawson gave separate closing arguments. Their approach was largely the same as they continued an attack on the credibility of a government informer whose testimony is a key part of the prosecution's case on bribery and obstruction of justice charges.

Prosecutors said the key evidence wasn't engineer Jim Rummage but rather the taped recordings he made talking with Lawson.

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