Tamika Hill, the former wife of a drug dealer linked by authorities to the largest drug bust in Columbus history, testified Tuesday in the federal case against Mark Shelnutt that she collected drug money and gave some of it to Shelnutt.
Hill’s testimony came on the second day of trial in which attorneys on both sides laid out their view of the case in opening statements.Shelnutt, a Columbus attorney, faces charges including aiding and abetting a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, money laundering, witness tampering and attempted bribery.
His May 21 indictment alleges a connection between Torrance Hill, who pleaded guilty to drug charges in 2006 and was sentenced to 24 1/2 years in prison. Shelnutt once represented Torrance and Tamika Hill.
Lead prosecutor Carlton Bourne Jr. broke the 40-count indictment into three parts for jurors — drug counts, financial counts and cover-up counts. Prosecutors allege that Shelnutt assisted the Torrance Hill drug organization, laundered cash, tried to bribe an assistant U.S. attorney and lied to the FBI.
Defense attorney Thomas Withers said jurors would be shocked by the lengths the government went to in its efforts to “get” Shelnutt, saying it had lost its sense of right and wrong.