February 1988: Two Florida grand juries indict Panamanian Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega and 15 co-defendants on 13 counts of drug trafficking and racketeering.February 1989: The Bush administration gives $10 million to opposition in Panama to help defeat General Noriega's candidate in May elections. May 1989: Opposition wins elections; Noriega annuls vote and violently represses demonstrations during which opposition leaders are beaten. As unrest grows, United States sends troops into Canal Zone. October 1989: Noriega crushes two coup attempts. December 1989: The US invades Panama and offers $1 million for Noriega's capture. Noriega seeks refuge in the Vatican Embassy in Panama City. January 1990: Noriega gives himself up and is taken to Miami jail. May 1990: The US agrees to pay legal fees for Noriega, who claims indigence because his assets are frozen. October 1990: Panama sues Noriega for $1.5 billion. November 1990: CNN airs a tape of conversations between Noriega and his lawyers. Some of his assets are unfrozen to pay lawyers. February 1991: Before he can testify in the trial of two Noriega co-defendants, an important prosecution witness is killed in a mysterious car crash. March 1991: Noriega becomes a born-again Christian, according to a Baptist publication. June 1991: US District Judge William Hoeveler sets Sept. 3 as the date for final motions. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Sept. 5. August 1991: The US District Court releases some secret federal documents to the defense, but their contents are not made public. Legal experts speculate the documents refer to Noriega's dealings with the CIA and the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

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