Cleveland criminal defense attorney stands trial on money laundering charges
CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Cleveland criminal defense attorney is on trial this week on charges that he agreed to launder thousands of dollars for a cocaine dealer in 2014.
Matthew King, 45, faces two counts of money laundering and one count of attempted money laundering.
A jury was selected Monday morning and testimony began shortly thereafter. The case is in front of U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent.
King is accused of approaching a confidential informant for the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force when both were at Christie’s Cabaret strip club in the Flats. King thought the informant was a drug trafficker and prosecutors said that King told the informant that he could launder money.
King and the informant met on several other occasions, and took the informant’s cash with the intent of laundering it through his attorney trust account. The informant recorded their conversations, according to court documents.
(You can read a summary of the government’s case here or at the bottom of this story.)
Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Sweeney told the jury during her opening statements that King later admitted his deeds to investigators, that he had actually stolen some of the money and had contacted two drug dealers on how to launder the money.
Timothy Ivey, King’s federal public defender, said that his client never actually deposited the money into his trust account. He said the informant “played the government for his own benefit” and that King, after initially meeting with the dealer, decided not to go forward with the deed when his conscience started bothering him.
King had an office on West 3rd Street at the time of the investigation. He worked for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office between 1999 and 2002. Prior to that, he was an assistant prosecutor and law director for the city of Lakewood.