Secretly taped video of Attorney Mark Shelnutt played in court - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Secretly taped video of Attorney Mark Shelnutt played in court

by Roslyn Giles  - email | bio

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Testimony in day one of Attorney Mark Shelnutt’s Money Laundering Trial started with the prosecution calling three witnesses.  Major Mike Massey was the first to the take the stand.  He was responsible for securing property seized during the search on Torrence Hill’s storage where 480 pounds of cocaine, $30 million worth of cocaine and marijuana and $600,000 in cash on the table were confiscated. The storage unit was reportedly rented by Tamika Hill’s sister.   

Chasity Davis Hollbarnes was the second witness called by the prosecution Tuesday.  She was married to Derrick Davis, who she says sold drugs for Torrence Hill. She testified that she made drug runs on several occasions for her ex-husband before getting arrested. She claims Shelnutt came to see her and advised her that he was sent by Torrence Hill to help her and Derrick. She added that Shelnutt told her not to talk to authorities before she went to testify before the grand jury.

During Cross-examination, Defense Attorney Gillian, pointed out that she will not spend any time in jail for her criminal acts because “big government” wants her to cooperate in the case.

Key witness for the prosecution, Tamika Hill, Torrence Hill’s ex-wife, stayed on the stand for hours. Attorneys for the government played a secretly taped video of a meeting between Tamika and Shelnett at his office. Tamika was wearing a hidden camera.  Shelnutt is seen at times making gestures and whispering because he fears her ankle bracelet is somehow recording the audio. Shelnutt advises her
that he heard she had been talking to law enforcement.  She denied it.  He also admonishes her not to talk about money and they both agree that she will not receive receipts for money she pays him for legal fees.

Tamika Hill added in her testimony that Shelnutt gave her a list of drug dealers to collect drug money from in order to pay him for Torrence Hill’s legal fees.  She says she collected $80,000 in 2005, gave Shelnutt some and kept a portion to help take care of her two children. Defense attorneys asked if Tamika has the list, she says, “no, I don’t have it, I just saw it at Shelnutt’s office.”   But, Gillian also showed that within 24 hours of being arrested, Torrence called Tamika telling her who to collect drug money from. The recorded phone conversations were played for the jury.

The only money Tamika testified that she actually gave Shelnutt is $7000 for her case in 2006, $1000 for her little brother’s drug case.  She says the money she received from Shawn Bunkley and Shatwan Holt she never gave to Shelnutt because she was arrested on drug charges.

As he left court, Mark Shelnutt released this statement, “it went well, we just got to keep plotting along a day at a time. We just keep fighting along and get our case out there; it’s still a lot to go,” says Shelnutt.

Court resumes at 8 o’clock Wednesday morning.



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