Defense rests, presents no evidence in Yassine brothers trial

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by JADE MINGUS / KVUE NEWS and photojournalist JOHN FISHER

Bio | Email | Follow: @JadeM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on October 9, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 9 at 5:21 PM

AUSTIN -- After days of government evidence and dozens of hours of witness testimony federal prosecutors rested Tuesday at noon. When the jury reconvened at 1:30 p.m., the defense team did not call witnesses or present evidence in the federal money laundering trial involving brothers Hadi, Mike and Steve Yassine.

The brothers are accused of laundering money through their downtown Austin nightclubs that included Treasure Island, Fuel, Pure, and Spill. Investigators have monitored the activity of Yassine Enterprises since 2007 -- an investigation that ended in several charges.

Tuesday, the three defense attorneys representing the brothers wanted to call an expert witness, but the judge denied that request. A University of Texas professor was going to testify about the pages of transcript that documented conversations between the Yassine brothers. He said he found discrepancies in the transcript that differed from the government-provided transcript.

"Mo" Yassine worked as a government informant and wore a wire to record those conversations. The brothers often talked in English, Arabic, and French. 

Judge Sam Sparks denied that request to have the professor testify. He said the defense did not provide the new transcript until Tuesday. He said the defense should have provided that evidence to the court earlier, before the trial ever started. Judge Sparks told attorney David Botsford that if he was a court appointed defense attorney, he would sanction him for how he handled the evidence.  

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m. in Judge Sparks' courtroom.

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