Yassine trial day 3: Jury hears from state's star witness

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by JESSICA HOLLOWAY / KVUE News

kvue.com

Posted on October 3, 2012 at 2:28 PM

AUSTIN -- Wednesday is day three of the Yassine trial, the case of three brothers, Mike, Steve and Hadi Yassine, charged with money laundering.

The state's key witness Mohamad "Mo" Yassine continued testimony. Mo is the confidential FBI informant hired to infiltrate Yassine Enterprises. He's also the Yassine brothers' cousin. 

The jury watched hours of audio and video recordings that Mo Yassine secretly taped of Steve Yassine discussing and engaging in drug deals. 

Mo told the jury he was born in the Ivory Coast and has lived back-and-forth between the United States and Lebanon most of his life. Mo admits he worked for Mike Yassine at several bars in downtown Austin but was fired by his cousins for being late to work, drinking on the job and taking money from a bar. Mo admitted he suffered with drug addiction, and in 2001, he got into a fight that led to a family feud. 

Mo moved his family to Colorado but was contacted in 2007 by the FBI to work as an informant. 

According to testimony, the FBI gave Mo a cover story and he began buying four kilos of cocaine a month, all paid for by the FBI. He also got a green card during this time with help from the FBI. 

Mo testified the FBI told him to ask the Yassine brothers to get involved in the drug operation. Eventually Mo says he would bring tens of thousands of dollars to Mike, Steve and Hadi and ask them to write him checks to show he had legitimate income. 

According to testimony, the government has given Mo and his family more than $300,000. 

Judge Sam Sparks expects the trial to last all week.

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