The process of choosing a jury to hear the politically sensitive trial of three former state probation department officials is about to begin in federal court.

Former commissioner John O'Brien and deputies Elizabeth Tavares and William Burke are charged with rigging the agency's hiring apparatus to secure jobs for people who had been recommended by powerful state legislators. Prosecutors say the politically-connected candidates were often less qualified than other applicants.

The three have pleaded not guilty to charges including racketeering, mail fraud and bribery.

U.S. District Court Judge William Young says jury selection will begin on Monday and that it could take up to three days to seat a jury. Opening statements are expected later in the week.

No legislators have been charged in the case.