Among the reasons to check out a rare economic espionage trial kicking off this week in San Jose, Calif.: allegations about Chinese efforts to penetrate Silicon Valley; the prospect of both defendants taking the stand; the wife of one defendant testifying for the government; and a procedure for handling witnesses that is hardly ever used in criminal cases.

Jury selection begins Tuesday in the prosecution of Lan Lee and Yuefei Ge, two former engineers for NetLogic Microsystems Inc. who were charged in 2006 with trade secret theft. Federal prosecutors then bumped up the indictment to include economic espionage, saying the defendants tried to commercialize stolen computer chip data with venture funding from the Chinese government.

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