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Rocky Start for Bout Trial

NEW YORK — Jury selection for the arms sale trial of Viktor Bout has gotten off to a rocky start, with reporters being kept out of the court.

The trial of the former Soviet military officer known as the Merchant of Death started Tuesday in a federal court in Manhattan, but two dozen reporters were initially kept out of court, except for a lone artist. A court spokeswoman said there was no room.

The trial has attracted heavy interest since Bout was brought to the United States last year after his 2008 capture in Thailand. His arrest set off a two-year struggle between the United States and Russia that ended when he was transferred to New York for trial.

Bout has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges that carry a potential life sentence.


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