The first trial in the widespread federal corruption investigation in Macomb County is underway.
Thursday morning, the first witness before the jury will be FBI Special Agent Bob Beeckman outlining the evidence gathered against former Clinton Township Trustee Dean Reynolds. Reynolds is facing 14 counts of bribery and conspiracy.
During opening statements, the prosecution played several clips of audio and video surveillance and wire tapes with Reynolds' own voice discussing getting big payments.
Reynolds had told Federal Judge Robert Cleland that he could not afford his own defense attorney, so Stephen Rabaut was appointed. Rabaut told the jury in his opening statement that the taped conversations were about loans, not bribes.
The feds had earlier said Reynolds was paid tens of thousands of dollars and given a paid divorce attorney by Rizzo, the trash hauling company, in exchange for getting the Clinton Township contract.
Reynolds turned down a plea deal in May with reduced charges and up to 10 years in prison.
Twenty people have been charged in this widespread multi-year investigation, and 15 have taken plea deals.
This trial is being held in Federal Court in Port Huron.