Monday, September 22, 2014

Follow us:
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Subscribe to this news feed 

News

Austin

Frustrated federal judge halts informant’s testimony

  • Text size: + -
TWC News: Frustrated federal judge halts informant’s testimony
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.

Update -- FBI informant Mo Yassine made his way into the federal courthouse, surrounded by agents late Tuesday afternoon.

The cousin of Steve, Mike and Hadi is the government’s primary witness in the money laundering case against the three businessmen.

Before the witness could reach the courtroom, Judge Sam Sparks expressed frustration to defense attorneys as well as prosecutors. "Recess the jury," Sparks told the bailiff, "We're going to work until 2 o'clock in the morning."

Sparks was frustrated each side could not agree on what portions of audio recordings captured during the Yassine sting could be played in front of jurors.

"We're in for a long haul," Sparks told attorneys after learning defense attorneys would object audio evidence they believe is not relative to the case.

A gag order has silenced attorneys from openly speaking about the trial. The jury is instructed to return to court by 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. Mo Yassine is expected to take the stand first thing.

TWC News: Frustrated federal judge halts informant’s testimony
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.

From earlier -- Testimony continued Tuesday in the trial of three Austin brothers who are accused of coordinating a money-laundering ring out of several popular downtown bars.

Steve, Mike and Hadi Yassine all face money laundering or conspiracy to money launder charges. Steve and Mike Yassine have been behind bars since they were arrested in March.

Hadi Yassine, the youngest brother, was freed on a $25,000 bond.

The alleged money-laundering ring was revealed in March when federal and local agents raided the bars ran by the Yassine Enterprises, including Treasure Island, Hyde and Spill.

Eleven people are charged in the case, one defendant has fled and is believed to be out of the country.

Federal Agent Donald Holstead has been on the stand since Monday afternoon when he testified the FBI’s paid informant, cousin Mo Yassine, used Yassine Enterprises to launder $100,000 on two separate occasions.

In April 2009, $100,000 was delivered to the offices of Mike Yassine. Twelve checks total were written, each for $7,500, which were then delivered back to Mo Yassine. According to FBI agents, Yassine Enterprises charged their cousin a $5,000 ‘money laundering fee.’

Three months later in June 2009, Mike Yassine charged $10,000 to his cousin for the exact same services.

Defense attorneys claim Mo Yassine is not a credible witness. They say in 2004, he was fired as an employee of Yassine Enterprises when Mike Yassine discovered he had stolen over $8,200 in cash and liquor.

Agent Holstead did have to testify in front of the jury that the informant, Mo Yassine, did have to use cocaine and marijuana during the entire undercover operation.

Related Stories

10.11.12.245 ClientIP: 54.87.130.240, 23.62.6.198 UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 (http://commoncrawl.org/faq/) Profile: TWCSAMLSP