Trial begins in case of man accused of illegally lobbying lawmakers to lift Zimbabwe sanctions

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CHICAGO — The trial of a Chicago man accused of illegally lobbying U.S. lawmakers to lift sanctions against leaders in Zimbabwe it set to get underway.

C. Gregory Turner's trial begins Monday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. A second man, Prince Asiel Ben Israel, has pleaded guilty to illegal lobbying.

Federal prosecutors say the two men lobbied lawmakers in the U.S. to lift sanctions against longtime Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and members of his regime in exchange for a promise of $3.4 million.

The complaint says the men met with Mugabe, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Gov. Gideon Gono and other officials "multiple times" in the U.S. and Africa. They allegedly agreed to lobby U.S. federal and state officials on Zimbabwe's behalf in exchange for the promised payments, which the defendants apparently weren't able to collect in full.

Mugabe's government has been under sanctions since 2003 for alleged democratic violations.

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