The tax shelter trial of three former KPMG executives and an outside attorney began in a New York courtroom Wednesday, but with most of the original defendants no longer present.

The case was once billed as the biggest tax shelter case ever prosecuted. However, Judge Lewis Kaplan dismissed charges against 13 of the original defendants in July 2007, including former deputy chairman Jeffrey Stein, after he ruled that prosecutors had exerted undue pressure on KPMG to stop paying for their defense, thereby limiting their legal options and violating their constitutional rights (see Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal of KPMG Indictments). Two other defendants have pleaded guilty and at least one is expected to testify against his former co-defendants. The remaining defendants are former KPMG executives David Greenberg, John Larson and Robert Pfaff, and tax attorney Raymond J. Ruble of the law firm Sidley Austin.

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