Ex-NASA official goes on trial

August 3, 2009 1:15:51 PM PDT
A former high-ranking NASA official is on trial under accusations that he steered nearly $10 million to a consulting client and lied about it.The agency's former chief of staff and White House liaison, Courtney Stadd, says he was only carrying out the orders of NASA Administrator Michael Griffin when he insisted that $12 million for earth science research be spent in Mississippi.

Prosecutors charged in opening statements Monday that Stadd was lining his own pockets by trying to get the money to his client, Mississippi State University, and lying to ethics officials about it. The school ended up with $9.6 million.

Stadd, who lives in Bethesda, Md., faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on all charges.