Defense contractor's trial begins with national attention


Posted on February 1, 2010 at 6:28 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 1 at 7:17 PM

The trial of a former Louisville defense contractor got underway in federal court Monday.

Keith Shaw is accused of cutting corners while making repairs to military aircraft parts and plotting to kill former business partners.

A jury was selected late that afternoon in the case, which has received national attention.

The panel is composed of 10 men and 6 women. Four will serve as alternates.

Shaw was arrested back in August after authorities say he tried to set a plan into motion to kill two of his former business partners.

Shaw allegedly told witnesses he wanted to blow up one man's airplane, poison his wine collection and blow up a box truck in front of his office.

Shaw also allegedly bought his son a sniper rifle and offered to pay him to shoot two former colleagues who were cooperating with authorities, as well as the agent investigating the case.

Shaw's company, Shaw Aero, allegedly came under investigation back in 2006 when authorities learned that the company may have  been altering gyroscopic parts used in C-130 aircraft and Blackhawk helicopters. Experts say that may have placed soldiers and sailors at risk.

Shaw Aero was also being investigated for overbilling government agencies for the repairs, which investigators say contributed to Shaw’s lavish lifestyle.

Since he's been imprisoned, those close to him say Shaw has lost nearly 40 pounds and his business has declared bankruptcy.

The case against him is so complicated that there are more than 7,000 documents entered into evidence.

“We just think the case is going to go a couple of weeks,” said Shaw’s attorney Thomas Clay. “It's gonna be very complicated. I hope the jury can understand it, because, frankly, there's things about this case that I don't understand and I've been studying it for six months.”

The jury will return to the federal courthouse Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. to hear opening arguments.

Shaw's former partners are expected to be among the first witnesses.