Brooklyn federal prosecutors took their last shot at convicting soccer bigs during closing arguments Wednesday in the FIFA corruption case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristin Mace told jurors there was “overwhelming” evidence three South American ex-soccer presidents accepted millions of dollars in bribes to influence the award of marketing rights on widely-watched matches.
The three former officials — Juan Napout, 59, of Paraguay, Jose Maria Marin, 85, of Brazil, and Manuel Burga, 60, of Peru — have been on trial for the last five weeks.
Prosecutors say Burga agreed to accept bribes worth $4.4 million, Marin agreed to $6.5 million and Napout agreed to $10.5 million.
Kevin Jonas testifies at FIFA corruption trial in Brooklyn
More than 20 people have already pleaded guilty.
The defense says there’s graft in international soccer — just not by their guys.
John Pappalardo, one of Napout’s lawyers, said Thursday the feds didn’t have a paper trail on payments to Napout, or any witnesses saying they saw Napout getting cash.
The trio are charged with racketeering conspiracy. Napout and Marin are also accused of wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.
Jurors could get the case as soon as Thursday afternoon.
There have been some odd twists over the weeks.
There was a surprise cameo by pop star Kevin Jonas to prove there was a 2010 Paul McCartney concert in Buenos Aires, which Jonas attended. Prosecutors insist Napout was bribed with tickets worth more than $10,000, yet his lawyers wouldn’t admit the concert happened.
Before that, prosecutors claimed Burga made throat slicing gestures at a star cooperator on the stand. Burga was dealing with an innocuous irritation on his neck, his lawyer contended.
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