Robert A. George can be seen in video footage leaning back in his chair in the office of a Dedham mortgage broker, talking about a deal the broker had negotiated with admitted criminal Ronald Dardinski.
The broker tells George, a prominent attorney, that he would pay him a cut, or a fee, for referring Dardinski to him in what prosecutors have called an illegal money-laundering scheme.
George, 57, can be heard in the video, which was played for jurors in his trial in US District Court in Boston this week, saying, “You give me what you want, only if you want to.”
Authorities say George walked away with $20,000, allegedly his take for orchestrating a scheme to help Dardinski launder $200,000 in proceeds from crimes.
George can then be heard crediting the mortgage broker with the deal: “You pulled it out, not me,” he said.
Prosecutors this week played the video footage, recorded in August 2010 in the office of mortgage broker Michael Hansen, in hopes of showing jurors that George knowingly took a fee for helping to arrange the laundering scheme, by referring Dardinski to Hansen. Dardinski, and later Hansen, both cooperated with US Drug Enforcement Administration agents.
George faces up to 20 years in prison on money-laundering charges. He is also on trial for illegally structuring bank deposits by making two consecutive deposits of less than $10,000, the level that triggers government scrutiny, so that he could conceal that the money was profits of a drug dealer who had retained him as a lawyer.
The prosecutors allege that George was hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to the Internal Revenue Service and desperate for cash.
George, whose supporters have packed the courtroom each day of his trial, has maintained his innocence, contending that he thought Hansen was conducting legitimate business with Dardinski. His lawyers have also argued that his finances were fine, that he put three children through college, and that he had equity in his home.
Earlier in the trial, Dardinski was forced to acknowledge under cross examination by George’s lawyer, Robert Goldstein, that he had a history of criminal convictions, lying, and cheating, and that he once worked as a mob enforcer. He also acknowledged that he had been mad at George for several years over a financial dispute. Goldstein is seeking to show that Dardinski falsely implicated George in the illegal scheme as a way to retaliate against him.
On Wednesday, the DEA agent who was Dardinski’s handler also acknowledged under cross examination that he and Dardinski had made a third attempt to ensnare George directly into a scheme to launder $100,000 in 2010, but that George didn’t want any part of it.
The agent, Joseph Tamuleviz, had written in a request for the money in 2010 that, “George would have negated any defense of his involvement in this scheme.’’
Tamuleviz later acknowledged that George declined to participate.
“Mr. George said he would show up, but he never did,” Tamuleviz said.
George’s lawyers have contended that he referred Dardinski to Hansen to help him legitimize some of his legal assets so that he would not have to forfeit the money to pay child support bills and the tens of thousands of dollars he owed the court system for restitution, but that he never agreed to launder drug profits, as alleged.
Prosecutors contend, however, that George knew all along that the money was from criminal proceeds.
The trial, in its second week, is slated to continue Thursday. Jurors could begin deliberating Friday.