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Jury Gets Case In Pa. Judge's Corruption Trial

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - A jury has started deliberating in the trial of a Pennsylvania ex-judge charged in a $2.8 million bribery-and-extortion scheme involving the construction of two privately owned juvenile detention centers.

Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella (shiv-uh-REL'-uh) is charged in a 39-count federal racketeering indictment with taking kickbacks from the builder of the detention centers and shaking down the owner of the youth lockups.

The jury got the case Wednesday afternoon after closing arguments in Scranton.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Zubrod said children who appeared before Ciavarella, a juvenile court judge, were "used as pawns in a scheme to enrich" Ciavarella and a second judge.

Ciavarella admitted he accepted money from the builder but insisted those payments were "finder's fees." He denied extorting the detention centers' owner.