The government and the defense opened the first Broadcom Corp. criminal stock options backdating trial to reach a jury by pinpointing the company’s eccentric chief executive officer, its unusual options granting process and a problematic former employee who threatened to become a whistleblower.

Before a packed courtroom on Friday in Santa Ana, Calif., just miles from Broadcom’s headquarters in Irvine, Calif., defense attorney Richard Marmaro sought to make clear to the jury that his client, former chief financial officer William J. Ruehle, didn’t even serve on the committee that granted the stock options in question.

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