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The drug and perjury trial of Mayor Marion Barry began Monday with attorneys trying to select a jury to hear charges that could sink Barry's political career.

Barry, whose trial begins nearly five months after he was arrested for allegedly smoking crack cocaine during an FBI sting operation at a downtown hotel, faces 14 counts of perjury, cocaine possession and conspiracy to possess cocaine dating back six years.He smiled and waved but did not talk to reporters as he entered the courtroom, accompanied by his wife, Effi, and mother, Mattie Cummings.

Reporters were barred from the courtroom for the opening proceedings, which included a statement from Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson to the first of two panels of potential jurors.