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Opening statements given in Currie case

Federal prosecutors say a prominent state senator sold his office to help a grocery store chain, but the senator’s lawyers say he arranged meetings but did nothing illegal.

Attorneys gave opening statements on Tuesday in a federal case in Baltimore against Sen. Ulysses Currie, a Prince George’s County Democrat.

Prosecutors outlined conspiracy, bribery, extortion and false statement charges. But Currie’s lawyers say his relationship with Shopper’s Food Warehouse wasn’t the secret conspiracy prosecutors are alleging.

Currie chaired the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, which steers state spending. But he stepped down from the position last year when he was indicted. He is still a state senator.

The trial could last six weeks.