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DETROIT � Opening arguments got underway in Detroit Thursday in the trial of flamboyant trial attorney Geoffrey Fieger, charged with funneling $127,000 in illegal contributions to John Edwards’ 2004 presidential campaign. Heading up Fieger’s defense is the legendary Gerry Spence, 79, who won acquittals of white supremacist Randy Weaver and Weaver’s friend in the 1992 shootout with federal agents at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. Fieger and his law partner, Ven Johnson, are accused of illegally recruiting dozens of employees and friends to donate money to Edwards, then reimbursing them. They are charged with making illegal campaign contributions and causing the Edwards campaign to file false reports with the Federal Election Commission � both which carry a maximum penalty of five years in a prison and a $250,000 fine. Fieger also faces an obstruction of justice charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years and $250,000 fine. Fieger and Johnson both deny the charges. The trial is expected to last six weeks.

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