Jury selection in the federal corruption trial of former New Roads Mayor T.A. “Tommy” Nelson Jr. began Monday morning and continued into the afternoon because of questions about pre-trial publicity.

Nelson is accused of racketeering, wire fraud, using telephones in a racketeering scheme and making false statements to the FBI.

He has pleaded innocent to all charges.

Nelson was charged as a result of the same FBI sting operation that resulted in the March trial of former White Castle Mayor Maurice Brown and current White Castle Police Chief Mario Brown.

The jury in that case convicted Maurice Brown on felony charges, but acquitted his younger brother, Mario Brown, on all counts.

FBI undercover agents and an undercover operative went to officials of several municipalities in the Baton Rouge area and posed as corrupt businessmen. They offered bribes in return for officials’ help in promoting what turned out to be a fictitious garbage can cleaning service.

On Monday morning, at least half of the jury panel of 79 told Chief U.S. District Judge Ralph E. Tyson that they had read articles in newspapers about Nelson’s case or viewed stories on television or heard related news broadcasts by radio stations.

Tyson said he would discuss the matter with each affected member of the jury panel, individually in chambers, before proceeding with public jury selection.