A longtime donor for U.S. Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama went on trial Monday, accused of money laundering and extorting bribes.

Prosecutors charge that Antoin "Tony" Rezko tried to extort millions of dollars in kickbacks from investment houses that wanted to do business with Illinois state boards.  Jury selection started Monday.
As Rezko sat in a Chicago courtroom, Illinois Senator Obama was campaigning in Texas and answering questions by reporters about his relationship with Rezko.  Obama said Rezko was a friend and supporter for many years, but that the charges facing him are not related to the senator.

Obama allegedly received $10,000 from a Rezko associate, which the senator's campaign team later gave to charity.


Some information for this report was provided by  AP and Reuters.