Bell plead guilty to tax evasion last year. She was sentenced to 18 months in jail but may see that amount reduced.

Earlier in his testimony, Sauer revealed that between 2003 and 2008, Bell received a total of $904,051.19 from four Kilpatrick-related entities including Kilpatrick for Mayor, the Next Vision Foundation, Kilpatrick Inaugural Committee and the Kilpatrick Civic Fund.

The government alleges that Bell kickbacked more than $250,000 to Kwame Kilpatrick, essentially paying him 50% on any amount greater than $5,000.

Bell had initially told investigators that she split anything over $25,000 with Kilpatrick because she didn't want Kwame to appear "petty" in splitting smaller amounts.

Thomas tried to poke holes in Bell's credibility by getting Sauer to admit she hadn't filed tax returns in possibly more than 20 years, kept bank account balances low to avoid triggering suspicion and had a drinking habit.

Oh, and possibly a little gambling problem too.

Greektown Casino records introduced into evidence by the defense indicated that Bell had a particular proclivity for the coin slots. In 2005, Bell gambled $170, 863 in coin slots and lost $15, 924. In 2006, she gambled $569, 868.34 and lost $39,276. In 2007, she gambled $788,950 ultimately losing $56,325 and in 2008, Bell gambled $803,022.29 and lost more than $82,000.

Thomas also dug into Sauer for not obtaining records from other casinos and for the defense's ability to uncover a further $42,000 paid out to Emma Bell in August 2003 that government investigators had failed to find. He also referred back to Sauer's grand jury testimony in 2010 where he told a juror "No, we haven't established a correlation between money Emma Bell received and payments made into Kwame's account."

Lastly, Thomas had Sauer read from one of his memorandums where he stated that "EB stored cashier's checks in her mattress or drawer".


As was widely anticipated, government witness Emma Bell testified in court. Bell told a rapt courtroom how she paid former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick kickbacks in his office from money stuffed in her bra.

Bell was 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.