Ex-IRS Agent Stands Trial for Allegedly Taking Bribe Money From Marijuana Dispensary

PHOTO: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building is viewed in Washington, DC, Feb. 19, 2014. PlayJim Watson/Getty Images
WATCH IRS Agent Caught in a Sting

A jury is now deliberating the fate of a former Seattle IRS agent who was captured by the FBI on a hidden camera allegedly accepting thousands in bribe money from a marijuana business in exchange for leniency during an audit.

The trial started Monday for Paul G. Hurley, who is accused of soliciting and receiving a bribe by a public official.

According to court documents obtained by ABC News, Hurley performed an audit for a medical marijuana dispensary called Have a Heart, meeting with owner Ryan Kunkel several times between July and September 2015. Hurley was then working out of the IRS' Seattle, Washington, office.

On Sept. 11, 2015, after conducting the audit, Hurley allegedly told Kunkel that he owed $290,000 on his 2013 and 2014 taxes, adding that he'd saved the business more than $1 million. He then allegedly asked for $20,000 in cash in return for his leniency, according to the FBI. Kunkel contacted his lawyer about the alleged request for money, and the lawyer reached out to law enforcement, who set up the sting operation.

On Sept. 16, 2015, FBI special agents were present at a coffee shop when Hurley allegedly accepted a partial payment of $5,000 from Kunkel. The agents used a video recording device to capture the exchange and also had Kunkel wear an audio recording device.

"Taxpayer A advised he told (Hurley) he was worried about getting into trouble for making the payment. (Hurley) said, in sum and substance, 'You're not in trouble. ... We're fine. It's good," according to court documents.

On Sept. 21, 2015, according to court documents, agents watched Hurley meet with Kunkel - this time in Kunkel's car - to receive the remainder of the payment. When he exited the car, Hurley was arrested. Hurley later quit his job with the IRS.

Hurley has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In a trial brief, Hurley's attorneys John Henry Browne and Michael T. Lee said that he'd been offered "a job to perform accounting services" and that the $20,000 "played no role whatsoever in his official duties."

"Mr. Hurley denies soliciting any bribe from Mr. Kunkel," they said.

If Hurley is convicted of bribery, he faces up to 15 years in prison.