Jury Seated in Tony Martin Case
MIAMI (AP) _ Miami Dolphins receiver Tony Martin knew money he received from a hometown friend ``was dirty,″ a prosecutor said Monday at the start of Martin’s money laundering trial.
Martin is charged with helping co-defendant Ricky Brownlee spend drug profits on three car leases and trying to pay $175,000 in Brownlee’s attorney fees with money from the convicted drug dealer.
``They knew exactly what they were doing,″ Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron DeWaard said. ``Tony Martin knew the money was dirty.″
Defense attorneys say Martin didn’t know the money was from drug sales. They say Martin never profited from the transactions and was motivated by friendship rather than criminal intent.
Defense attorney Hy Shapiro brought Martin in front of the jury box to introduce him.
``Regardless of what the government says, he’d never risk a stellar career by doing the things the government says he had,″ Shapiro said.
Martin, 33, was charged eight days after playing in the Super Bowl for the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons later released him, and he signed a four-year, $14.2 million contract with Miami, his hometown team.
The Dolphins acquired Martin because they believe he provides the deep threat quarterback Dan Marino has long lacked. Plus, Miami took little risk in signing him _ all but $100,000 of his contract is contingent on him being available to play and not in a federal prison.
Martin reported to training camp Friday with other veterans. During the trial, he plans to work out on his own in the evening, and he’ll practice with the team on weekends.
Miami coach Jimmy Johnson and about a dozen players came to the federal courthouse just before opening statements.
Johnson was joined by wide receivers O.J. McDuffie, Lamar Thomas and Yatil Green, as well as defensive back Terrell Buckley and defensive end Jason Taylor. None would comment on the trial.
``We’re just here to support Tony,″ team spokesman Harvey Greene said. ``It was an individual decision by the players to come.″
Earlier Monday, eight women and four men were selected from a pool of 93 potential jurors.
Attorneys anticipate a three-week trial, meaning a verdict could be reached three weeks before the Dolphins’ opening game, Sept. 13 at Denver.
Martin’s attorneys had sought separate trials for the two, but U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore denied the motion Friday.
Martin’s charges stem from his longtime friendship with Brownlee, who served seven years in prison for drug convictions during the 1980s.
Prosecutors said Martin was driven by greed when he helped Brownlee hide drug money.
``Tony Martin was part of the need ... the need to conceal,″ DeWaard said.
``The drug business creates substantial wealth and ... greed is going to show the truth.″
Two witnesses testified Monday against Brownlee _ his parole officer and a Drug Enforcement Administration agent who arrested him in 1982 on a drug charge.