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Bo Xilai defence falters -

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ELIZABETH JACKSON: In China the dramatic trial of a former political heavyweight goes into its third day today.

Bo Xilai continues to protest his innocence against charges of bribery, embezzlement and the abuse of state power.

But the latest testimony from his wife seems to contradict many aspects of his defence.

Our China correspondent Stephen McDonell is in Jinan for the hearing.

STEPHEN MCDONNELL: Bo Xilai has called for his wife to appear as a witness in his trial. He wants to cross-examine her, but the judge says she is refusing to come.

According to Chinese law, Gu Kailai , who's in jail for the murder of a British businessman, is entitled to decline under these circumstances.

Mr Bo wants to ask his wife about her claims that the once-powerful political figure knew about the bribes she had received from a corrupt businessman.

During the trial, twice a day, court spokesman Liu Yanjie gives reporters a funny little bland summary of what's been going on.

(Liu Yanjie speaking)

Here, he spoke of both sides examining and cross-examining testimony that might show whether Bo Xilai was aware that his wife, Gu Kailai, took money from businessman Xu Ming to buy a villa in Nice.

In written testimony, Gu Kailai says she showed her husband graphics and slideshows for the design of the villa.

But Bo Xilai says his wife is mad, that she's changed, and that she lies all the time. He added that his wife made the statements about him under the psychological pressure of trying to avoid the death penalty.

Prosecutors may be finding it hard to establish that Bo Xilai directly took $4.8 million is bribes and illegal payments, but if Bo Xilai can't cross-examine his wife, many will believe that he did know something of the money, airline tickets, real estate, and other gifts she was receiving.

Today there may well be more discussion about the murder of British businessman Neil Haywood.

In court documents, Gu Kailai said she decided to kill him to protect her son after reading threatening emails from the one-time close family friend.

After a financial dispute she worried Neil Haywood might try and kidnap her son, so she got in first.

We're yet to hear any evidence however of how Bo Xilai might have tried to cover this matter up.

This is Stephen McDonell in Jinan for Saturday AM.