Yesterday a jury found Georgia criminal defense attorney J. Mark Shelnutt not guilty on all counts. He was acquitted of money laundering, drug conspiracy, and attempted bribery.
Three weeks ago, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears appeals from cases in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, decided U.S. v. Velez in favor of the defendant. That case involved a money laundering charge against a criminal defense attorney under 18 U.S.C. § 1957. Shelnutt was prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. § 1956, which required federal prosecutors to attempt to prove that ill-gotten gains were used for certain prohibited purposes, including facilitating underlying criminal activity, tax evasion, or evading money laundering statutes. The prosecution was unable to prove its case.
More information in the Shelnutt case can be found here.
Our previous posts regarding U.S. v. Velez are here and here.
We discussed U.S. v. Kaley, another case involving the payment of legal fees to criminal defense lawyers, here in September.