Wealthy Texan Charged with Offering Kickbacks to Iraqi Officials

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NEW YORK (AP) - Opening statements will begin Monday in the conspiracy trial of a wealthy Texas oilman charged with offering millions in kickbacks to Iraqi officials.

Prosecutors say Oscar S. Wyatt Jr. wanted to win lucrative oil contracts from Saddam Hussein's regime.

Twelve jurors and six alternates for were selected Thursday for the trial in New York.

Prosecutors say they will present evidence that Wyatt encouraged opposition to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and bragged about his influence to Iraqi officials to win oil contracts.

Defense lawyers plan to portray Wyatt as a victim of a prosecution that came about after his outspoken criticism of President Bush and his administration.

Wyatt has been free on bail since he was charged with conspiring with others to gain favored status for oil contracts.