The recorded phone call between then-homicide detective Philip Nordo and an inmate began with talk about official business, as Nordo told the man he would appear at an upcoming probation hearing and try to persuade a judge to let him out of jail.

But after a few moments, the discussion turned personal.

“I don’t know what you’re so shy about,” Nordo said, later telling the man: “You’re a freak,” and calling him a “freak boy.”

The recording of that call, made in 2015, was one of two conversations played for jurors Tuesday at Nordo’s sexual assault and corruption trial — and it came as retired Sgt. Richard Jones, the lead investigator on the case, took the witness stand for much of the day.

Prosecutors have accused Nordo of sexually abusing witnesses during his time on the force, charging him with rape, sexual assault, and official oppression. Three witnesses have testified that Nordo assaulted them. And Jones told jurors that when police launched an Internal Affairs investigation into Nordo’s alleged misconduct in 2017, he and other investigators listened to hundreds of calls like those played in the courtroom Tuesday.

Nordo has denied wrongdoing, and his attorneys have described him as a tireless detective — someone who worked all hours of the day and night seeking to develop sources and informants who could help him solve homicides.

Jones, though, said he found some of Nordo’s recorded phone calls unusual. Nordo seemed to promise some inmates jobs at a pornography business, Jones said, or instructed them not to talk about topics such as crime reward money on a recorded line.

“It didn’t sound correct that Nordo said, ‘Keep your big mouth shut,’” Jones said.

Some of the details of those allegations were not fully explained Tuesday. Nordo’s attorneys have asked Common Pleas Court Judge Giovanni Campbell to limit references to accusations unconnected to the accounts offered by the three witnesses whose allegations form the basis of the criminal case against him. (The calls played for jurors Tuesday came from a man who has not testified at trial.)

Under cross-examination by attorney Richard J. Fuschino Jr., Jones acknowledged that he never found evidence of any porn business linked to Nordo, and he said some of the men Nordo was trying to entice with reward money never received any payouts.

And in investigating a claim that Nordo had improperly put money into inmates’ prison accounts, Jones said he checked to see if any of the 70 or so detectives in the homicide unit at the time had deposited money for any of the thousands of inmates across the state. Two other detectives had done so for their relatives who were incarcerated, Jones said. Only Nordo had sent money to witnesses or informants behind bars.

Testimony was expected to continue Wednesday.