Babak Broumand worked for the FBI for 20 years. Now he faces charges of bribery in a six-count federal indictment.
Prosecutors say he gave out national security information for his own personal profit.
The former San Francisco-based agent sat in court Tuesday clutching what appeared to be prayer beads as he listened.
"He risked it all to have it all," a prosecutor said. He added that the agent took an oath to defend the United States and he betrayed the oath for money.
The key in this case is Edgar Sargsyan - a Beverly Hills attorney who allegedly paid someone else to take the bar exam in his name.
The government says Sargsyan made a fortune through credit-card fraud and he needed protection.
It claims he surrounded himself with corrupt law enforcement. He met with them at a private smoking members-only club called The Havana Room in Beverly Hills.
The government claims Sargsyan paid Broumand $10,000 a month. Sargsyan has since pled guilty to five federal crimes.
Others caught up in this include former Glendale police detective John Balian and Homeland Security agent Felix Cisneros.
The government says it all started to unravel when Sargsyan was pulled over in Burbank because his vehicle didn't have a license plate.
A Burbank officer testified that at the time he was shown an FBI placard that had Broumand's business card. The officer then called the FBI and it started an investigation.
Broumand's attorney says his client is innocent and the allegations come from Sargsyan, described as a con man and convicted associate of organized crime.
The defense admitted there were some mistakes and poor judgment but not bribes. He says Broumand's job in the FBI was to get contacts and gather information and that's what he was doing. He says it's not as simple as it seems.
It all comes down to the main witness - Edgar Sargsyan - and if the jury believes him when he tell his story on the stand.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect Babak Broumand was a San Francisco-based FBI agent.