The racketeering trial of a former Democratic powerbroker is expected to shed light on the maneuvering behind a long-delayed multibillion-dollar megamall in New Jersey's Meadowlands.

Joseph Ferriero once headed the Bergen County Democratic Organization. The U.S. attorney's office alleges he illegally squeezed nearly $2 million out of a Virginia-based developer in exchange for his political influence with the mall project, then known as Xanadu.

Xanadu was supposed to open in 2007 but was delayed by financial problems and lawsuits. Developer Triple Five took it over four years ago and plans to open it as American Dream Meadowlands next year.

Opening statements in Ferriero's trial are expected to begin Thursday. Ferriero denies the charges.