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updated: 8/21/2012 7:53 AM

Corruption trial starts for NW. Indiana official

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Associated Press

HAMMOND, Ind. -- The federal corruption trial of a longtime northwestern Indiana elected official began with his defense attorney saying he wasn't trying to defraud anyone by taking about $24,000 in child support incentive payments over six years.

The trial of Lake County Coroner Thomas Philpot started Monday and is expected to last a week.

The Post-Tribune of Merrillville and The Times of Munster report federal prosecutors say Philpot illegally paid himself the bonuses when he was the county clerk without seeking approval from the Lake County Council.

Defense attorney Theodore Poulos argued that each check Philpot received was signed by the county auditor and two county commissioners, giving him the impression he was following the law.

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