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CALIFORNIA

Google’s quarterly lobbying bill triples to $3.76 million

SAN FRANCISCO — Google’s U.S. lobbying bill more than tripled to $3.76 million in the fourth quarter.

The dramatic increase came as the Internet search leader fought proposed changes to online piracy laws and sought to influence a wide range of other issues that could affect its fortunes.

The amount Google Inc. spent making its political points from October through December is by far the company’s highest lobbying tab for any three-month period since its Washington office opened in 2005. The total compares with a lobbying budget of $1.24 million during the final three months of 2010.

For all of 2011, Google spent $9.7 million on political persuasion, nearly doubling from $5.2 million in 2010.

The fourth-quarter lobbying figures were filed late Friday with the U.S. House clerk’s office.

TEXAS

Jury selection begins in Stanford fraud trial

HOUSTON — Jury selection began Monday in the oft-delayed trial of jailed Texas financier R. Allen Stanford, who is accused of bilking investors out of $7 billion in a vast Ponzi scheme.

Opening arguments are expected to start Tuesday.

Mr. Stanford’s attorneys have said they expect him to testify.

Mr. Stanford was indicted more than 2 1/2 years ago but his trial was delayed while he was treated at a prison hospital for an addiction to an anti-anxiety drug.

Prosecutors say Mr. Stanford funded a lavish lifestyle with the money of depositors. His financial empire stretched from the U.S. to Latin American and the Caribbean.

He denies wrongdoing.

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