Nearly two years after a coup, ousted Thai premier Thaksinused Thaksin of widespread corruption, undermining the nation's democracy and insulting Thailand's revered king.
But the case actually before the Supreme Court is far less sweeping. Thaksin is accused of using his political influence to help his wife Pojaman buy a plot of prime Bangkok real estate from the central bank at a sharply reduced price.
If convicted, Thaksin and Pojaman could face up to 13 years in prison. Because the case is going directly to the Supreme Court, they would expect to last two months, but in the meantime, the courts will also tackle a series of other cases against Thaksin's luding the former speaker of parliament and serving cabinet ministers.
The legal drama is unfolding against a political backdrop that echoes the political instability that rattled Thailand in the ruprotests led by the same royalist activists who had targeted Thaksin in the months before the putsch.