A federal prosecutor opened the federal money-laundering trial of criminal defense lawyer J. Mark Shelnutt on Tuesday by asking the jury, “Why would a lawyer ask a secretary to run some cash through her checking account? Why would he give her a box of $7,000 in cash and ask her to write [him] a check and give him money back?”

That transaction, said Special Attorney to the U.S. Attorney General Carlton R. Bourne Jr., illustrates Shelnutt’s crossover from honest advocate for Columbus, Ga.’s largest drug trafficker to a willing partner in the drug trafficking conspiracy.

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