Updated 10/09/2012 10:00 PM
Closing statements to begin in Yassine trial Wednesday
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In a federal court Tuesday, the prosecution and the defense each rested their case in the money laundering trial for the Yassine brothers. In a surprise move, Yassine lawyers chose not to call any witnesses.
In court, attorneys for Mike, Steve and Hadi Yassine told the court, federal prosecutors failed to prove their case against the brothers.
The three men face money laundering charges after a seven-year investigation that shut down the multi-million, downtown nigh club company, Yassine Enterprises.
The trio are accused of laundering money through several downtown bars including Pure, Treasure Island, Fuel and Spill.
The jury was sent home shortly before 2 p.m. and Judge Sam Sparks and attorneys got to work preparing charges to the jury. Closing arguments will begin Wednesday and will take five hours—two for the prosecution and one for each of the three defense attorneys.
Last week, the prosecution's key witness and the brother's cousin, Moe Yassine, took the stand.
According to Moe's three day testimony, Steve Yassine was involved in the purchase of three-fourths of a kilo of cocaine. Mike Yassine accepted at least $200,000 in cash to be laundered, and discussed laundering up to $1 million.
Moe Yassine worked as an FBI informant for more than six years, earning a total of $344,000 for his work.
The jury can render a guilty verdict, but they have to agree to each of the following items:
• They knowingly or attempted to conduct illegal financial transaction
• They knew the money used for the deals was illegal
• They knew the transaction(s) were funded by illegal money
• They tried to cover up the transactions
Tuesday morning, Mike Yassine's personal assistant Rommel Gomez, took the stand. Gomez testified of seeing large sums of cash flow inside the downtown bars. He also told the court he threw away two bags in neighboring dumpsters at the direction of his boss. Prosecutor showed the jury the two bags were used to deliver $200,000 believed to be illegal cash.
But Gomez brought his own dirty laundry to court. A native of Venezuala, Gomez toiled the court he is in the country illegally, arrested in May for immigration violations. He also faced charges for using two fraudulent social security cards. But in exchanged for his testimony, he has received immunity.
The jury will hear closing arguments Wednesday morning.
If convicted, the brothers could face 20 years in prison.