Paul Bergrin Case: Racketeering trial begins for New Jersey defense attorney

In this May 8, 2009, file photo, attorney Paul Bergrin is seen in Superior Court in Newark, N.J. Bergrin, 53, a defense attorney and former federal prosecutor whose clients have included rap stars and a soldier at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was charged Wednesday, May 20, 2009, with arranging the killing of one witness and trying to hire a hit man to kill another. (AP Photo/Mike Derer, File)
AP Photo/Mike Derer
May 8, 2009 file photo of attorney Paul Bergrin in Superior Court in Newark, NJ
Attorney Paul Bergrin is seen in Superior Court in Newark, N.J. on May 8, 2009
File, AP Photo/Mike Derer

(CBS/AP) NEWARK, N.J. - A racketeering trial began Tuesday for Paul Bergrin, a once-prominent New Jersey defense attorney whose clients once numbered rap stars and other entertainers.

Bergrin faces a 26-count indictment that charges him with running his law firm as a racketeering enterprise. He allegedly engaged in drug trafficking, prostitution, bribery, witness tampering and plotting to murder witnesses.

The defense attorney previously went through a murder trial that ended in a hung jury on November 2009. The judge in that trial was removed by a federal appeals court after prosecutors argued his rulings showed bias.

Bergrin has been behind bars since his arrest in 2009, and several others arrested with him have pleaded guilty. He's acting as his own attorney during the trial.

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