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Sopranos creator David Chase has appeared in court after he was sued over his involvement in the popular mob drama.

A former New Jersey municipal court judge claims his ideas helped Chase create the Sopranos plot and he is seeking both credit and compensation in the five-year legal battle.

Robert Baer's lawsuit has been dismissed twice by a federal judge, but the rulings were overturned and a jury at the federal court in Trenton, New Jersey, has been sworn in.

Thirty-one potential jurors were in the courtroom, where they were told eight would be chosen to hear the case, which is expected to take eight days.

Earlier, Chase arrived at the Trenton courthouse with two lawyers, but refused to comment.

Wearing a black suit, he sat at a table with his lawyers and his wife Denise, who is vice president of his production company.

Mr Baer, who is also a former assistant prosecutor in Union and Hudson counties, first sued Chase in 2002, claiming he suggested a TV show about organised crime in New Jersey and gave Chase a crash course on the North Jersey mob.

The legal dispute centres on Mr Baer's role in developing the show in 1995, years before The Sopranos became a TV sensation.

Mr Baer claims Chase's ideas came after Mr Baer arranged meetings with police detectives and other experts and escorted him around mob sites in the Newark-Elizabeth area of New Jersey.

Chase called the claims "grossly distorted, petulant and self-aggrandising", and said Mr Baer provided a "modest service", arranging to introduce him to individuals who were experienced in certain facets of organised crime.

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