He's crooned about slander in an R&B video and vilified the current government in daily social media posts to counter portrayals of him as corrupt and out of touch.
The trial set to begin Tuesday comes nine months after Najib's spectacular election defeat, which was spurred by voters' furor over the 1MDB scandal that is being investigated in the US and other countries.
He is charged with 42 counts of criminal breach of trust, graft, abuse of power and money laundering in one of Malaysia's biggest criminal trials.
Najib has denied wrongdoing. His lawyers are appealing Monday to delay his trial.
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