Defense calls Shelnutt's case a witch hunt - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Defense calls Shelnutt's case a witch hunt

by Roslyn Giles  - email | bio

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The jury began deliberating in the money laundering trial of attorney Mark Shelnutt around 1:00 p.m. Tuesday.  After four hours, the 12 member panel called it quits for the day.  They will return at 8:00 a.m. Wednesday morning.

During closing arguments, the prosecution focused on the 36 counts alleged in the indictment against Shelnutt. They include conspiracy, money laundering, aiding and abetting convicted drug dealer Torrence Hill in his multi-million dollar operation, attempted bribery and making a false statement to FBI agents.

Attorney Carleton Bourne told the jury that no one is above the law regardless of their occupation and surely it’s inappropriate and against the law to call a drug co-conspirator to collect drug money and bring it to the defendant.  Torrence Hill testified that he gave Shelnutt $250,000 in legal fees.

Defense attorney Tom Whitters told the jury that this case is shocking and sad and the case is nothing more than a “witch hunt” to get Shelnutt.

Shelnutt says he’s just glad the case has gotten to this point. “I am glad the jury has the case. We just got to wait and see what their verdict is and see what tomorrow holds,” added Shelnutt.

Judge Clay Land charged the jury on their instructions telling them that it is not illegal for an attorney to receive cash in legal fees even if they are from illegal sources.  It’s also not a federal crime for a lawyer to conceal those funds unless the attorney was concealing something other than the legitimate legal fees said Land.

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