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A U.S. soldier went on trial in absentia in Italy on Tuesday accused of killing an Italian intelligence agent in Iraq, but his lawyer said his client would reject the court's jurisdiction. After preliminary motions, it was adjourned until May 14. Mario Lozano, from the U.S. Army National Guard in New York, denies wrongdoing in firing at Nicola Calipari's car when the agent was escorting a newly freed hostage to Baghdad airport in 2005. He says the driver ignored warnings to slow down or stop.

He is being tried in absentia because Washington has ruled out handing him over and his lawyer, Alberto Biffani, indicated his client could formally reject the Italian court's authority.

"Of course, Mr. Lozano will reject that this court has jurisdiction in this case," Biffani told reporters.

The U.S. and Italian governments said the shooting was an accident, but an Italian judge charged Lozano with murder and two counts of attempted murder of those in the car.

His trial began in a courtroom inside Rome's maximum security prison, Rebibbia, the largest in the Italian capital. Seven empty cages flanked the left side of the courtroom, normally used to hold high-security defendants.


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