Ex-Chicago official’s traffic cameras bribery trial to start

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CHICAGO (AP) _ A trial is set to begin for a former Chicago transportation official accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts to steer more than $100 million in red-light camera contracts to a Phoenix-based company.

Jury selection in John Bills’ trial gets underway Monday morning in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Chicago U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon will be among the trial prosecutors.

Bills allegedly fixed a key commission vote to secure an initial deal for Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. around 2003. It signed others later for Chicago’s first red-light enforcement program.

Bills faces multiple corruption counts, including bribery and extortion. Defense attorney Nishay Sanan has called Bills “a scapegoat.”

Former Redflex executive Karen Finley has pleaded guilty to related charges. She’s scheduled for sentencing this year.