Posted on January 17, 2006

Bribery Trial of Ex-Mayor Begins

AP, Jan. 17, 2006

ATLANTA — Former Mayor Bill Campbell, who presided over Atlanta during its most prosperous period in recent history, a span that included the 1996 Olympics, is returning to defend himself and his administration in a federal corruption trial.

Mr. Campbell is accused of accepting more than $160,000 in illegal campaign contributions, cash, junkets and home improvements in exchange for city contracts.

The 52-year-old charismatic ex-politician — once considered a rising star in the national Democratic Party — is charged with seven counts of racketeering, fraud and bribery.

The trial, which starts with jury selection today, follows a seven-year federal probe into corruption at City Hall that lasted almost as long as Mr. Campbell’s 1994-2002 tenure as leader of the South’s largest city. The investigation led to the convictions of 10 former city officials and contractors, all tied to the Campbell administration.