Tuesday testimony is under way in the Kwame Kilpatrick federal trial.
Yesterday, a president of a local contracting firm testified that he was invited to Bobby Ferguson’s house because Ferguson wanted to refurbish his home.
The prosecution is trying to make the case that Kwame got thousands in state tax grant money for Ferguson that Ferguson told the state he used to help Detroit’s needy.
The witness was asked if he saw campaign material at Ferguson’s house.
He said there were “Kwame For Mayor” signs on Ferguson’s SUV. The witness asked “What’s a Kwame?”
Having no idea who Kilpatrick was at the time.
It’s 9:01 and the confusion here continues. An audio-visual feed is to come out of the court to a media room.
The media room was locked until last minute and the screens here are dark.
For those of you wondering and didn’t know, each morning Kwame and Bobby Ferguson start their court session by reading from a book called “365 Days of Faith.”
All attorneys are in chambers currently.
Kwame is here talking with Ferguson.
Bernard Kilpatrick is at the table and again, per usual at the far end is Victor Mercardo. He never, ever looks at the other co-defendants.
9:14AM: The attorneys are back out of judge’s chambers. We should be starting here shortly.
The judge will be keeping an eye on the sleepy member of the jury.
When I was in court all of last week, she looks like she could nod off at any moment and sometimes does.
The prosecution was concerned about her last week as they lay the building blocks of their case.
The sleepy member of the jury, juror No. 4, first reported on by Local 4 last week has been dismissed.
First alternate will be in her seat.
9:23 AM: With sleepy juror No. 4 now bounced from the jury and the trial, the first alternate is in place and IRS agent, Ron Sauer is back on the witness stand.
Ferguson defense attorney Susan Van Dusen is now cross-examining him.
Sauer was the government’s first witness in the case, he’s the IRS investigator that tracked hundreds of thousands of dollars in Kwame Kilpatrick’s cash bank transactions that began right after Kilpatrick took the mayor’s office.
9:40 AM: Kelly Bartlett Director of Government Affairs for the Michigan Dept. of Transportation takes the stand.
Prosecution takes him back to Spring 2000 when he was working with the legislative liaison for the state budget office.
Prosecution asked if Miss Mary Lenoy did you have conversations about Detroit 3D.
She had mentioned to him that they would have applications come in but did not think she mentioned names but ones she spoke about with Rep. Kilpatrick.
Prosecution asked what actions he took.
He wanted to see what would come in.
Prosecution asks to focus on Detroit 3D and asks if Bartlett received an application from Detroit 3D
Bartlett said he did receive one.
Jim Thomas, attorney for Kilpatrick objects after this question.
Judge asks that they be more specific about who they are talking about in questioning.
Bartlett said the application came in at the time when they were receiving 570 applications. He said he doesn't recall who sent the application.
Prosecution: What did you send to Rep. Kilpatrick's office
Bartlett: I sent them a two page application and additional page with the broad guidelines
Prosecution: Did you receive the application back? Who did you receive it from?
Bartlett: I can't recall
Prosecution refers to SG11
Prosecution and witness agree it is what Bartlett sent to Rep. Kilpatrick's office. He sent him a blank application.
Prosecution asks witness to read project description:
The project will have a wide scope. The project will work with schools to provide peer mediation and economic assistance. Seniors are also a target to benefit the program.
Bartlett reads who the application is from: From the desk of Sharon Solomon, legislative assistant of Rep. Kilpatrick.
Prosecution asks what he did once he received the application.
Bartlett: He said he began to assemble the projects according to the criteria to eventually arrive at a list of recommendations for Mary Lenoy.
Kilpatrick's attorney objects again, but Judge overrules him.
Bartlett: Began looking at the large list of projects.
Prosecution: Was Detroit 3D one of his recommendations to receive a credit.
Bartlett: yes, it was a recommendation like I made for a small number of grants which the budget director had said these are ones we want to pay attention to, these are ones we want to fund.
Prosecution: What opinion did you take as far as receiving a grant. Was it made partly on the description?
Bartlett said It was made partly on the comment that Miss Lenoy had made to him.
Bobby Ferguson's attorney objects to the answer.
Judge reminds defense team one lawyer, one witness.
Judge said he is just offering what he said as to explain why he took certain actions.
Prosecution refers to defense evidence DSG8 and gives a copy to Bartlett.
Bartlett said it's a list of criteria they would send out to applicants of the criteria for the program.
Bartlett is asked to read criteria # 5: Projects must be a benefit to the community, (a) provide programs to children and school program or (b) provide help to seniors (c) tourism or (d) compatible with area economic development.
Bartlett said no one was told which criteria was most important.
Bartlett said Detroit 3D was given a grant for about $500,000 he believes.
Bartlett talks about how money would be dispersed.
Bartlett said they would give the second half of the funds based upon a review.
He said if it looked like there was sound management of the grant they would be given additional money.
Prosecution asks Bartlett about reliance for the second installment of funds
Bartlett said he believed they had the ability to inspect projects.
Prosecution asks Bartlett to characterize the agreement
Bartlett said the agreement was necessary for the state to extend state funds to these organizations.
Bartlett felt their project description was what they intended them to do with the money if awarded.
Prosecution asks Bartlett if they expected them (Detroit 3D) to honor the description.
Bartlett said sure.
Jim Thomas attorney for Kilpatrick, objects.
The Judge reminds Bartlett he needs to talk about what he did specifically.
Bartlett said his role in grant administration at this point, had receded. He said at this point, the processing of the grant paperwork shifted to a colleague in the budget office. So the managing of the correspondence was handled by someone else.
Prosecution ask Bartlett if he reviewed or asked questions about paperwork submitted by Detroit 3D
Bartlett said he did not.
Prosecution asks if he had conversations with Kilpatrick about Detroit 3D
Bartlett said he had conversations with Kilpatrick about Detroit 3D and Vanguard. Bartlett said Kilpatrick called him.
Prosecution asks him to walk the court through the conversation.
Jim Thomas objects.
Bartlett said he received the call in Spring of 2001.
Prosecution asks the commenting from Thomas to stop.
Judge asks everyone to calm down and that they will all get a chance to question the witness.
Bartlett said he received the call at his desk. He said Kilpatrick began with a tone of voice a parent would use like a child was in trouble. Bartlett said he was a little bit startled.
Prosecution asks why.
Bartlett said he didn't believe he had spoken to Kilpatrick before other than a greeting. He said the tone suggested something was wrong like he was in trouble.
Bartlett said he never received a called like that before and wondered what was wrong.
Bartlett said Kilpatrick said these organizations or these groups are getting nickeled and dimed by you peopled.
Prosecution reaffirms that Kilpatrick was referring to Detroit 3D and Vanguard.
Bartlett said I believe so.
Prosecution asked what Bartlett did.
Bartlett said someone else was handling this part and that he had not been aware of any conversations leading up to that that would lead Kilpatrick to make this kind of statement. I said something to the effect that it is part of the process in administering the grants to take for certain records, it's part of the process and we're not singling anyone out.
Bartlett said Kilpatrick made some sort of comment that suggested his dissatisfaction with the situation.
Bartlett told Kilpatrick that all these funds are all subject to audit.
Bartlett said Kilpatrick's mood changed and said something to the effect of all right and the conversation ended shortly after that.
Bartlett said he told director Lenoy about the conversation.
Prosecution: Did she make some form of recommendation to you?
Did you meet with a representative from Kilpatrick's office?
Jim Thomas objects. The attorneys all go to sidebar.
10:15 AM: Attorneys go to sidebar with the judge.
Prosecution tells Bartlett asks what he was going to say before interrupting him
Bartlett said after conversation with Kilpatrick he spoke with director Lenoy. She said something to the effect we had some problems with the paperwork with it not filled out correctly or incomplete. He said the main point of the conversation was that she would like him to go into the files and look for another organization that is about the same size of grant and similar in the type of the organization that has filled out the paperwork correctly and go to Rep. Kilpatrick's office and show them the proper interim report as a way of illustrating this is the level of detail we're asking for it's not a burden that no other organization is able to do. He said he did that.
Prosecution asks if he spoke to Derrick Miller and if he knew he was working with Kilpatrick at the time.
Bartlett said yes.
Prosecution asks if he sat down with Derrick Miller
Bartlett said he asks if he spoke to Kilpatrick and that there were concerns about the level of information that needed to be provided. He said he would explain it to Miller what they needed and he could pass it onto the organizations.
Bartlett said Miller made a comment that he wasn't sure why they needed the level of detail they were asking for. He said he gave some indication he would pass the information along.
Prosecution asks if he knew someone named Lisa Schumaker and how did he know her.
Bartlett said she was a staff person assigned to the capital outlay of the state budget. He said Lisa Schumaker was going to take on a colleague's duties.
Prosecution asks if he spoke to Lisa about Detroit 3D or Vanguard.
Bartlett said yes.
Prosecution asks if they spoke or shared information about Carlita Kilpatrick. Prosecution asks based on the conversation Bartlett had with Schumaker what did you do?
Bartlett said he was quite concerned to hear this and because the Detroit mayoral race was happening, he said he was concerned that they needed to know whether some of the funds which now it appeared were going to Mrs. Kilpatrick, if some of those funds were going into the mayoral campaign.
Prosecution asks if he spoke to Don Gilmer and if he took actions after that.
Bartlett said with his limited knowledge he attempted to see if any of these funds came from these grants.
Prosecution asks when this took place.
Bartlett said it took place in September 2001.
They begin talking about a draft letter Bartlett wrote to Deborah Devine an assistant attorney general who was assigned to the budget office.
Prosecution shows exhibit SG37 to Bartlett and introduces it into evidence.
Bartlett said his purpose in writing this draft of a letter to the attorney generals office because he was concerned about the possibility of taking action on these grants and he wanted to give Don Gilmer, the state budget director, the ability to ask the direction of our legal counsel if they had to cite this as a reason to stop funding the grants or proceed with action against the grants.
Prosecution asks what his concern was.
Bartlett said they were never advised that Mrs. Kilpatrick would be a recipient of any of the funds. He said he wanted to be able to have the budget director informed if whether there was a legal issue with Mrs. Kilpatrick receiving the funds.
They start talking about the second paragraph of the letter.
Bartlett is asking to read it. It talks about state budget director Lenoy received numerous calls and contacts in favor of a grant which had not been applied for yet.
It went onto to say a particular legislator also inquired. Prosecution asks Bartlett to identity that person and he said it was Rep. Kilpatrick.
He goes on to read the rest of the letter which talks about continued concerns. He said the organizations must release adequate information. He said the organization never provided adequate information. He said after the first installment was sent they discovered that another party was receiving the funds, Mrs. Kilpatrick.
The letter went on to say this legislator has repeatedly asks that they be lenient with the funds. He was referencing Rep. Kilpatrick.
Bartlett said the draft letter was sent to Don Gilmer.
Prosecution asks if Bartlett took any other actions. Bartlett said he was waiting for direction from Gilmer. Bartlett said Gilmer asked him to try and get an appoint with Lucille Taylor who was counsel with Gov. Engler.
He said he contacted her office and tried to set up an appointment but it didn't happen.
Prosecution asks if the draft letter was sent out to his knowledge.
Bartlett said no. He also said he didn't know why.
11:02 AM: Break ends. It appears Jim Thomas, attorney for Kilpatrick will begin the cross examination of Kelly Bartlett.
Thomas asks Bartlett if he recognizes Kilpatrick.
Thomas said he wants to get something out of the way right away.
Thomas asks if Bartlett did an investigation into his concerns about whether grant money was used for campaign funds. Bartlett said he did to the best of his ability.
Thomas asks if Bartlett found any information that would suggest the money from the grant was donated to Kilpatrick campaign. Bartlett said he did not find anything.
Thomas talks about Kilpatrick as a state legislator, one of the youngest members and the leader of the Democratic caucus. He asks Bartlett to explain what the caucus is to the court.
Thomas asks if the Detroit 3D and Vanguard grants were given to people in Kilpatrick's district. Bartlett said he could not say if they were in Kilpatrick's district but in the city of Detroit for sure.
Thomas begins talking about Gov. Engler wanting to get his budget passed and whether he had difficulty doing so.
Bartlett said yes, and that year they had the unique situation that they had a surplus of money. He said they difficulty it presented as working with the state budget's office it was quite difficult for individual subcommittees to do budget discipline. He said it was difficult to go back to them to go back and say your program only needs a 5% increase, not an 8% increase he gave as an example.
Thomas asks if it became sort of a deadlock until the budget passed. Bartlett said he didn't know if he would characterize that, but he said it was a difficulty.
Thomas asks if Bartlett saw the arts and cultural grants in the budget as a way to make it easier to pass the budget.
They begin to talk about a supplemental budget.
Bartlett explains supplemental budget. He said at this point the budget for the current budget year as already passed and the supplemental is a supplement to that fiscal year.
In the case of the grant program, he said with the environment they were in with the extra money, Gov. Engler and the budget's office were getting a number of requests.
Bartlett said in the course of the conversations and as people became aware of the news of extra money, the requests for additional programs increased. He said the governor's office said they had to find a way to direct people that if you have a district need, here is an avenue to direct your folks.
Thomas asks if that would be the grant program. Bartlett said that was one way.
Bartlett said this was the first year the grants were done this way. I believe he means through the arts and grants program.
Thomas asks if the grants are broadly written. Bartlett said yes.
Thomas asks if there were written rules and regulations to the arts and grants program.
Bartlett said no, they did have a brief set of guidelines. He said when grants were successfully awarded there was an expectation there would be an agreement.
Thomas refers to DSG8.
Thomas talks about grants being for one time costs. He also talks about them getting into the community quickly.
Thomas asks if Bartlett was familiar with the application process for Detroit 3D and Vanguard.
Thomas asks how much money was available for the grant budget.
Bartlett said a little more than $18 million.
Thomas takes Bartlett back to Kilpatrick's position at the time.
He was a member of The Quadrant.
He asks Bartlett to explain what that is to the court.
Thomas asks if as a quadrant leader would Kilpatrick be talking about the budget. Bartlett said yes.
11:25 AM: Bartlett said he was contacted by several lawmakers in the application process. He said those communications were very much on the order of this "where do I send this in" "if I want to send a letter of support" where do I send it.
Thomas asks if curiosity is normal.
Bartlett said over the course of the application, Kilpatrick was the only one he spoke to after the grant was awarded.
Thomas said it would be normal to talk about the process or procedure or assisting in the process.
Bartlett said yes.
Thomas takes time to establish that Kilpatrick had power in his position with the state legislature.
Thomas asks if Bartlett was taken a little bit aback when Kilpatrick called him.
Bartlett said yes.
Thomas takes them back to the grant application.
Thomas shows Bartlett DSG15.
Bartlett said Senator Stille or his staff had wanted to know who the applications were from his district. The application period was over but no awards had been announced.
Thomas asks if there are projects that would be a benefit to the community.
Bartlett said these are applications.
Thomas asks if he is aware if some of them were funded.
Prosecutor Eric Doeh objects.
Thomas moves to introduce DSG15. The letter from Senator Stille.
Judge overrules the objection by Doeh.
Thomas references a list Bartlett made for Senator Stille for applications from his district.
Thomas talks about there being 570 applications, some rejected for not having appropriate information.
Bartlett said some were also rejected for not being right for the community.
Thomas talks about grants approved by Detroit 3D and Vanguard and asks if Bartlett had anything to do with their approval.
Bartlett said he had them in his list of recommendation to director Lenoy for approval.
Thomas asks if it must list every contractor.
Bartlett said it was their assumption that the applicant would be providing the work directly.
Thomas said what you're asking was not a requirement but contemplated.
Bartlett said yes.
Thomas: So you think a $500,000 grant that doesn't relate to anything more specific than dealing with a wide scope of services of residents would not contemplate services provided by people expecting to be paid for their services?
Bartlett said your question has become more specific.
Thomas asks that it was not prohibitive that Detroit 3D and Vanguard to provide services from contractors who were not included in the grant.
Bartlett you made not the people who paid for the grant.
Thomas said yes.
Bartlett said yes.
Thomas asks again if the applicant can employ other people.
Bartlett says that's a possible arrangement but that is not what our understanding was to be.
Thomas asks Bartlett if he ever visited Vanguard.
Bartlett said no, but he also said that was not his role.
Thomas asks if he was aware of Lenoy or Schumaker ever went you there.
Bartlett said no.
Thomas asks about Detroit 3D
Bartlett said all I can say is I did not.
Thomas asks about Carlita Kilpatrick.
Bartlett said I would characterized it, if Carlita Kilpatrick was doing those things, the people around me would have heard about it.
Thomas said so you're relying on other people.
Thomas also said other people that Bartlett doesn't know if they went out to look at Detroit 3D.
Thomas talks about funding the second half of the grant and whether they're having difficulty in doing so.
11:43 AM: The cross examination goes back to Bartlett's conversation with Derrick Miller.
Thomas talks again about the grant being broadly written.
Thomas asked about the grant restrictions.
Bartlett said they had the grant agreement that they signed. Thomas refers to it being broadly written. Bartlett suggests that is a matter of opinion.
Thomas asks if they can agree to disagree.
Defense gathers to find a document.
It appears to be DSG10 which refers to the arts & cultural & quality of life grant.
Thomas asks if that is the narrowly drawn agreement, the type of agreement given to executees for the grant.
Bartlett says you're putting words in my mouth.
Thomas asks if that document is narrowly drawn or broadly written.
Bartlett eventually said he would say it's narrowly drawn.
11:48 AM: Thomas refers to a meeting March 19 2001 in which Bartlett met with Kilpatrick's staff. Thomas shows him a document to see if Bartlett will remember having that meeting on that date.
Bartlett agrees. Thomas asks if it was to sort out details on two grants.
Thomas asks if the meeting was on friendly terms.
Bartlett said the tone of the meeting generally was but Derrick Miller questioned whether the level of detail they were asking for was necessary. Bartlett said it was cordial.
Bartlett said Miller's reaction to the information he gave him was OK, we'll take it to the next step.
Thomas asks if he continued to work with Vanguard.
Bartlett said no. He was involved in the selection process but not the ongoing process.
Thomas asks if he was aware there was some concern about releasing the second installment.
Bartlett said ultimately they wanted the work that these two groups said they were going to do to take place.
They turn back to Derrick Miller. Thomas asks if it was apparent to Bartlett that Miller was going to get the issues resolved. Bartlett said yes.
Thomas refers to Miller's comment about why the level of detail was necessary.
Thomas asks when Bartlett was aware Mrs. Kilpatrick became involved in the service of the grants.
Bartlett said he was not aware that services were provided.
He said he didn't know if he was ever aware that she provided services.
Thomas said because you didn't go down there and look.
Thomas asks again when he became aware of Mrs. Kilpatrick's services.
Bartlett said he didn't know but his guess was the Spring of 2001.
Thomas asks if Bartlett was aware at any time if the grants were suspended.
Bartlett said he was aware they were not going to release the second payment. Bartlett said he believed that was also the Spring of 2001.
Thomas asks if Bartlett is aware of a letter a colleague sent to the director expressing concerns in July 2001.
Bartlett said he was aware of conversations but not of a letter.
Thomas asked if he was aware his colleague's concerns in the letter did not include Carlita Kilpatrick.
Bartlett said he already testified that he was not aware of the letter.
Thomas talks about Bartlett's three page letter he addressed in August 2001 that was supposed to go to an assistant attorney general listing concerns his colleague had and it was never sent.
Bartlett said the letter was written to him as a suggestion to Don Gilmer.
Thomas asked if he sent it independently.
Bartlett said that would be inappropriate for him to do so.
Thomas ask if his concern was an ethical issue.
Thomas ask if an ethical issue and a crime are two different things.
Bartlett said yes.
Thomas asks if this was considered a crime or an ethical violation.
Bartlett said his purpose in drafting the letter was to ask whether it rose to the level of a crime.
Thomas asks if Bartlett if he had indicated he had done independent research.
Thomas references a particular part of the draft letter and whether Bartlett is referring to a conflict of interest.
Bartlett said yes.
12:08 PM: Thomas asks Bartlett if he was aware of Vanguard was funded for second part of grant. Bartlett said he didn't recall.
12:09 PM: Thomas asks Bartlett to look at a document. It is an email from December 4 2001 between Gilmer & Bartlett and it's introduced as evidence.
Thomas said it's clear from that letter that Vanguard received the second half of their installment from their grant.
Bartlett said that's a meaning you can take from it.
Thomas said whatever the issue was, it was resolved in regards to Vanguard.
Thomas said the draft letter was never sent, never followed up on?
Bartlett said no, as I said we attempted to set up a meeting with Lucille Taylor but because of scheduling it never happened.
Thomas said so it never happened because the Governor didn't think enough of it to have a meeting, Lucille Taylor didn't think enough of it to have a meeting.
12:13PM: Court takes a break.
12:25 PM: Court resumes
12:28 PM: The continued cross examination of Kelly Bartlett is put on hold so they can introduce a new witness from Mississippi who has surgery tomorrow so they are trying to fit him in today.
The next witness is Stephen Oshinsky, who worked for Skytel.
He worked there from October 1990 to the end of December 2008. He was director of assistance engineering.
Prosecution asks if between 2002 to 2005 if they provided paging service to Detroit.
Oshinsky said yes.
Prosecution shows him an exhibits.
Oshinsky said they are pictures of their most popular two-way pagers.
The next picture is of a two way pagers.
Oshinsky said the way the paging worked was an early form of SMS messaging. Messages could be entered in through a variety of ways.
12:33 PM Our live feed of the proceeding goes in and out.
It appears the prosecution is attempting to explain how the Skytel pages work including whether you can see your message and the reply.
Prosecution asks if he was involved in designing the software.
Oshinsky said yes. He was the chief architect.
He said early on they were concerned about capacity. He said they kept track of data and used to to look at capacity issues and surplus. He said that was mostly his idea.
12:37 PM: We lose the audio from our feed. We are watching the court proceedings from a special media room. The feed comes back up pretty quickly.
Prosecution said it sounds like Skytel provided a variety of different services.
Oshinsky said there were interfaces to allow anyone to send a message to a sender.
Prosecution asks why they kept all the information.
He said it was initially kept to look at how much air time they were using, stresses on the system. They kept it to analyze average message length, how many messages someone kept in a day and see how the system was handling it.
12:39 PM: Prosecution asks if customers asked for information.
Oshinsky said there were times customers would ask if their messages were delivered.
They offered an archival system for clients.
Prosecution asks if he had knowledge of how messages were retrieved.
Oshinsky said there were two ways. You could go to the log files or data kept in a business system that didn't keep the whole message, just the first 80 characters.
Prosecution asks if a third party wants to retrieve the content of the messages like an outside investigator.
Oschinsky said if they got a subpoena or wire tap that would go through legal counsel. He said in later years like 2007, 2008, it would come to him.
He said when that request would come in he would go to an interface that had a security login and would enter the dates, pin numbers of what was requested, gather the data and deliver the information.
He said if it was short he would print it out, if it was longer he would import into an excel and write them to a disk and send back to requesting party.
12:43 PM: Prosecution asks if access to Skytel logs were limited and required a password.
Oshinsky said yes.
Prosecution asked if the information could be changed, Oshinsky said they were read-only files.
Prosecution asked if on April 2008 Oshinsky received a search warrant from the FBI.
Oshinsky said yes.
Prosecution gives him two documents.
The one requests were for Christine Beatty, Bernard Kilpatrick and Derrick Miller.
The second request was for Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson.
Prosecution asks Oshinsky what he did after receiving the warrants and what did he do with it.