Jury Selection in Tony Martin Case
MIAMI (AP) _ Football receiver Tony Martin was in federal court today for the start of his trial on federal money laundering charges.
Martin, with the Miami Dolphins, watched as prosecutors and his defense attorneys began questioning prospective jurors from an initial pool of 75 people.
The charges against Martin, a Miami native, stem from his longtime hometown friendship with codefendant Ricky Brownlee, who served seven years in prison for drug convictions during the 1980s.
Martin’s attorneys had sought separate trials for the pair, but District Judge K. Michael Moore, the trial’s judge, denied the motion Friday.
Martin, 33, was charged eight days after playing a starring role in the Super Bowl for the 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.
Martin reported to training camp Friday with other Dolphins veterans. During the trial, he plans to work out on his own in the evening, and he’ll practice with the team on weekends.
The case against Martin centers on allegations that he helped Brownlee spend drug profits. Prosecutors say the money was used for three car leases, and they say Martin tried to pay $175,000 in Brownlee’s attorney fees with money from Brownlee.
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.
Attorneys anticipate a three-week trial, meaning a verdict would be reached three weeks before the Dolphins’ first game Sept. 13 at Denver.