Thomas says you went to the office at least 18 times or more?
Bell says I could do that because I was his fund-raiser.
Thomas says you went 18 times to give him cash. Bell answers slowly and annoyed: YES SIR.
Thomas says you went through EPU? Bell says I'd call Iris and did not have to go through EPU.
Thomas says wasn't EPU there? Bell says I didn't have to tell them why I was there.
But weren't they there?
Bell says the prosecutor will not be sentencing me.
You lied to agent Sauer first time you met him? Yes I did.
You committed a federal crime? Yes.
1:01PM Bullotta redirects.
Why did you change statements? Because when I talked to my attorney, he said if you don't tell the truth, I can't work with you. I went home and was so nervous for my life. So I called Bradley.
Bell's voice cracking.
"It is very hard for me to talk about Mr. Kilpatrick and my word against his."
You didn't want to make him look greedy says Bullotta.
1:03PM Thomas redirects.
Didn't you say petty? Was it petty or greedy? Bell is crying.
Thomas asks incredulously you thought you were helping Kwame Kilpatrick by increasing money you gave him to not seem petty?
Thomas says would you answer my questions. Stop playing with papers.
Bullotta objects saying he is argumentative. Judge sustains.
Judge adjourns court.
As was widely anticipated, government witness Emma Bell testified in court today. Bell told a rapt courtroom how she paid former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick kickbacks in his office from money stuffed in her bra.
Bell is the first cooperating witness to testify in the Kwame Kilpatrick federal corruption trial.
She plead guilty to tax evasion last year and signed a plea agreement with the government. Under sentencing guidelines, Bell is facing 18 to 24 months in prison but the government may opt to reduce that amount by half after her testimony.
Under questioning by U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta, Bell recounted how she had met Bernard Kilpatrick and Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and their family in the early 1970s through her involvement with the Shrine of the Black Madonna church.
Bell also revealed that her very first check for a Kilpatrick for Mayor fund-raising event was for $100,000.
Bullotta asked what the former mayor said when she thanked him for the payment.
"He said I was welcome and I'll see you later," said Bell. When pressed to say further by Bullotta, Bell said "He asked if I had something for him." By that, explained the witness, Kilpatrick meant that she should come back with money.
Bell then described how she would take money from a can under her bed which she would proceed to stuff in her bra or pockets.
"Hundreds mostly. Some fifties but mostly hundreds" were used to pad Bell's bra.
She would then visit Kilpatrick at his offices. Behind the closed doors of a side office, they would sit together in a barber chair and Bell would give him the money. On a series of some 18 visits, Bell testified that would typically hand Kwame between $8,000 and $10,000 a visit. From the first payment of $100,000, she said she gave him between $40,000 and $50,000.
When asked how much in total she paid Kwame, Bell responded:
"I don't know the exact amount but I know it was more than $100,000. I know it was more than $200,000."
An incredulous Jim Thomas, Kwame Kilpatrick's defense lawyer, asked "Are you telling the jury you took money out of your bra in the mayor's office?"
"I would take money out of my bra in front of my son," responded Bell calmly.
She then proceeded to lift her blouse slightly for Mr. Thomas in demonstration.
Thomas gained momentum in his questioning of the witness, taking her to task for possibly bending the truth to spare herself prison time and ultimately driving Bell to tears.
"There are only 2 people in this room other than God that know what happened. And that's me and Mr. Kilpatrick," said a teary Bell towards the end of her testimony.
Witness testimony continues tomorrow at 9 a.m.