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The trial’s first witness was Elvin Mong, a special agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who inspected the four crates of monkeys when they were in Miami and stuck a camera into the crates to take pictures of the primates. Although he did not open the crates, he saw that one of the monkeys was dead and began trying to have it removed. But he said by the time Conyers arrived, the crates had already been loaded into an American Airlines flight to Los Angeles.

Jurors were shown a picture of the dead Tamarind monkey, which appeared partially decomposed.

Once the story of the monkeys’ nightmarish flight was reported, some animal brokers halted monkey imports to Los Angeles, according to Julia MacKenzie, the West Coast coordinator for SAEN. She said as many as 30,000 primates had been shipped through Los Angeles per year, but after the deaths, “the importers decided to go through another gateway.”

SAEN said the United States is the largest importer of monkeys coming from the Philippines, Indonesia, Guyana and Kenya. Most are destined for laboratory experiments.

Conyers could face up to six months in jail and a $20,000 fine if he’s convicted. The trial is expected to last three weeks.