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Jury Selection Begins In Walsh Corruption Trial

Thomas Kienzle

Jury selection is scheduled for today in the federal corruption trial of Suffolk County Conservative Party Chairman Edward Walsh.

Federal prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York charge Walsh with stealing more than $80,000 from county taxpayers by filling out false timesheets while working as a corrections lieutenant.

He’s accused of gambling, playing golf and conducting party business on county time.

Also on trial: the political culture in Suffolk County.

In court papers filed last week, federal prosecutors say Suffolk District Attorney Tom Spota repeatedly protected Walsh from several investigations by County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco, a former protégé of Walsh’s. Spota, a Democrat, was first elected in 2001 in part due to Walsh’s support.

Walsh retired from the county sheriff’s office last month, on the day he was vested in his pension.  

Opening arguments could start as early as Wednesday.