A federal appeals court has refused to delaya bribery trial for the brother of a former Louisiana congressman,setting the stage for a jury to hear the case next week.

Mose Jefferson's trial on charges he bribed a former New Orleansschool board president for her support in awarding school contractsis scheduled to start Aug. 10.

Jefferson's lawyer said a key witness for his defense, formerstate Rep. Renee Gill Pratt, isn't available to testify during thebribery case this month because she is awaiting her own trial nextyear in a separate but related racketeering conspiracy case.

However, a three-judge panel from the 5th Circuit Court ofAppeals refused Monday to postpone the bribery trial until afterthe racketeering trial, in which Mose Jefferson also is charged.

Mose Jefferson is a brother of former Rep. William Jefferson,whose trial in Virginia on separate corruption charges was in thehands of a jury Tuesday.

In the bribery case, prosecutors claim Mose Jefferson illegallyreceived a $913,000 commission for a computer-based learning systemhe sold to the New Orleans public schools system with the help offormer school board member Ellenese Brooks-Simms. Jefferson isaccused of kicking back $140,000 of his commission to Brooks-Simmsas a reward for her support.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon ruled thatjurors also can hear testimony that Mose Jefferson enlisted GillPratt, his girlfriend, to secure state funding for other schools topurchase the computer program.

Mose Jefferson is accused of paying Gill Pratt a $3,500 kickbackin 2002 after she secured $300,000 in state funding for the programto be used in two schools.

Mose Jefferson "paid her for a job well done," Assistant U.SAttorney Richard Pickens said during a hearing Tuesday.

Jefferson's lawyer, Michael Fawer, said prosecutors don't have a"scintilla of evidence" that Mose Jefferson paid his girlfriend akickback.

"So what? What is there in evidence besides, 'Oh, she must haveknown'?" Fawer said. "Where is there any evidence except that hereceived money and he gave money to her?"

In her ruling, however, Vial Lemmon said evidence of the allegedkickback to Gill Pratt is "relevant to the issue of intent" andits "probative value outweighs any prejudice."