Money Laundering Case Continues
Detention hearings continue in case against Yassine family
By Richard Whittaker,
4:39PM, Wed. Mar. 28, 2012
Day two of the detention hearing in the Federal coke'n'clubs case, and Judge Dennis Green continued to take a stern line in response to bond requests from the Yassine family and their associates.
Yesterday Green set bond or detention for seven of the ten defendants caught up in last week's raid on Downtown clubs. By the time the press and families walked into the Federal court house for today's hearing he had dealt with number eight. Nizar "Nino" Hakiki, who is charged with distribution of and conspiracy to distribute cocaine, as well as drug-related gun charges, was detained without bond.
That left two: Edgar Orsini and Karim Faiq, both charged with distribution of cocaine and conspiracy to distribute. However, there was a surprise third addition to the hearing: Lawyers for Mohammed "Steve Austin" Ali Yassine were back, asking for Green to reconsider his decision to detain their client. While the government argued that he has a lot of property (including a house, a rental home and a Maserati), attorney Stephen Orr what he really has is a lot of debt and therefore cannot really be considered a flight risk. "He really doesn't have the assets everyone thinks he has," said Orr. Green remained unconvinced, and continued the detention order.
Green had already dealt with Faiq and Orsini. Yesterday Faiq's lawyer Ben Florey told the press that he thought the prosecution would drop the charges against his client: Instead, he was released on a $25,000 bond, or 10% cash, and placed in the third party custody of his brother Sayeed. The government had requested detention, arguing that he faced life imprisonment and that, as a Moroccan citizen, he was a flight risk, but Green let him out on bond with a severe warning that the government will go after his wife and brother for the bond money "and they can be very persistent, as anyone who has a student loan knows."
Green was far less sympathetic towards Orsini. The judge had removed his court-appointed attorney yesterday, arguing that the two Mercedes and the Range Rover in his garage meant he was not in penury and could afford his own lawyer. This afternoon his lawyer did everything save throw her client on the mercy of the court, noting that he was an orphan and has featured in a film shot by his church about turning one's life around. As for the cars, she told the court that Orsini's family had made an arrangement with the bank to ensure they were not repossessed and so Orsini could continue. Green seemed more impressed by the federal government's proffering that Orsini had been recorded by the DEA as making multiple trips to Mexico. No bond for Orsini, who Green ordered to be detained.
The hearings continue on April 2 with arraignments. Until then, it seems likely that the ever-buzzing rumor mill surrounding the Yassines and their venues – Treasure Island, Pure Ultra Lounge, Spill on Sixth, Malaia World Lounge , Fuel, Roial, Hyde, and Kiss & Fly – will continue unabated.