Ex-Detroit mayor's aide testifies about contractor
Former Detroit mayor's aide returns to witness chair, focuses testimony on contractor Ferguson
DETROIT (AP) — A close aide to former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick testified in federal court Tuesday that looking out for the interests of a contractor was a regular part of his job.
Derrick Miller returned to the witness stand for a second day in Kilpatrick's corruption trial. The ex-mayor already is on parole for a state obstruction of justice conviction.
A prosecutor on Tuesday took Miller through text messages in which contractor Bobby Ferguson knocks his demolition competitors. Kilpatrick's text response was "Cool!"
Kilpatrick, his father, Bernard, and Ferguson are charged with running a criminal enterprise by rigging contracts and taking payoffs.
Miller said he took a trip to Puerto Rico in 2003 with Kilpatrick, Ferguson and then-Detroit water boss Victor Mercado to look at aqueducts. The water department was a source of city work for Ferguson.
Miller testified Monday about delivering bribes to Kilpatrick from another contractor. Miller pleaded guilty to corruption in 2011.
Also Tuesday, a state official said authorities are investigating a $2,000 gift to Kilpatrick from a Chicago pastor.
Prisons spokesman Russ Marlan said Kilpatrick is required to report gifts to his parole officer but made no mention of the December cash. Detroit TV station WJBK showed video of Kilpatrick counting cash from the wire transfer at a Walmart store in Macomb County. Kilpatrick called it a "trivial" matter Tuesday.
Kilpatrick was convicted four years ago of obstruction of justice in Wayne County court. He still owes $800,000 in restitution to the city of Detroit and is on trial on federal corruption charges.
The $2,000 came from Chicago's New Beginnings Church. The Rev. Corey Brooks said Kilpatrick was pleading for help.
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