A U.S. grand jury in Miami began hearing evidence yesterday in a case involving the arrest of prominent Washington lawyer William A. Borders Jr. on a charge that he was a conduit for a $150,000 cash payoff to a federal judge in Miami.

Reid Weingarten, a prosecutor in the Justice Department's public integrity section, was in Miami directing the grand jury probe of Borders, 42, and U.S. District Court Judge Alcee L. Hastings, 45.

Borders was arrested Friday after FBI agents said he accepted the final payment of the $150,000 payoff from an undercover FBI agent, allegedly as part of an effort to secure reduced sentences for two brothers convicted on racketeering charges and sentenced by Hastings in Florida.

The grand jury is expected to hear evidence concerning Hastings, who has not been charged in the case, as well as the allegations against Borders.

On Monday, Hastings said the FBI had informed him he was under investigation -- one of the rare times the Justice Department has investigated the actions of a sitting federal judge.

Borders, a member of the D.C. Judicial Nomination Commission that recommends selection of city judges, has made no public statements since he was released from custody on $25,000 bond Saturday.