Jury begins deliberating in Yassine trial


by JADE MINGUS / KVUE News and Photojournalist JOHN FISHER

Bio | Email | Follow: @JadeM_KVUE


Posted on October 10, 2012 at 5:15 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 10 at 6:16 PM

AUSTIN -- The jury is now deliberating in the federal trial of three former nightclub owners.

Mike, Steve and Hadi Yassine are accused of laundering drug money through their family owned downtown night clubs and bars. Prosecutors say the Yassines were building a growing empire, a perfect front for money laundering.

In March the FBI raided the Yassines' nine downtown Austin clubs. The brothers are accused of taking drug money and funneling it through their businesses.

It was discovered in court that their cousin Mo worked as a paid FBI informant. He recorded conversations between the family members. Prosecutors say those recordings are the best evidence in the trial to prove the men guilty.

The Yassines' defense team wrapped up closing arguments Wednesday afternoon. Their attorneys said the government tried to "create a crime where none existed." They said Mo Yassine tried to get the brothers in trouble just to get paid.

The 12-person jury began deliberations at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday. There was no verdict by 6 p.m., so deliberations will continue Thursday morning.

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