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Trial Set To Get Underway For Six Former Philly Police Officers Accused Of Corruption

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Opening statements are expected today in federal court in a case of alleged police corruption. Six former Philadelphia narcotics officers have pleaded not guilty to charges they stole money, property and drugs from drug dealers.

Federal authorities allege the six former officers, Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Michael Spicer, Perry Betts, Linwood Norman and John Speiser were part of a violent racketeering conspiracy. Prosecutor Anthony Wzorek details some of the allegations in an earlier court hearing.

In one incident, the victim's lower teeth were damaged," Wzorek told the court, "and he was leaned over a railing by one of the co-conspirator's in this case from 30 feet up."

But the defense has denied the charges, asserting these officers are being framed by drug dealers they arrested and by former fellow cop Jeffrey Walker, who is caught in corruption and is now trying to help himself.

"Now what he has done is trying to lessen the burden on him, his sentence," said defense attorney Nicholas Pinto, "by providing information regarding other officers.

The trial is expected to last about ten weeks.

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