Judge is apologizing to the jurors who apparently didn’t get their checks last week because of a clerical error. She’s promising it won’t happen again.
Rachmale was with the Water Department and part of the Kwame Kilpatrick transition team when he ran for mayor. Rachmale is on the stand saying that he believed that Kwame Kilpatrick would be good for the city.
Rachmale just testified that during the time Kilpatrick was mayor, there was no one else he feared would get in the way of City contracts other than Bobby Ferguson.
The company paid for work on City directed work to Lakeshore. It says the job would be a direct contract between Ferguson Enterprises and Lakeshore. The exhibit shows an email from the company President basically green-lighting a contract with Ferguson. Ws-671 was a project for work that had expired. Apparently there was work still to be done and the City said the water main work needed to be completed by Ferguson. The contract is from April of 2010.
Now, I gotta tell you. I’m just jumping in here, but it seems to me that just throwing up receipts and emails without telling the story of why they’re there will start making the eyes of jurors glaze over. But I guess we’ll see if they can keep up and remember what’s going on from 10 days ago.
Okay, Now Bernard Kilpatrick’s defense attorney is grilling Mr. Avinash Rachmale the former Vice President of Lakeshore Engineering.
An exhibit is now on the screen that’s from Mr. Rachmale. Okay, I think I said he was a former VP, but this email indicates he was the president in 2003 of Lakeshore.
The work requested of Ferguson was for Emergency Sewer Repair Services and Related Rehabilitation. Work on an as needed bases.
Now that could mean a lot of things in a City like Detroit that has aging sewer pipes.
Bernard’s attorney is basically indicated that Bernard Kilpatrick was paid $2,500 at his apartment for consulting services.
On the screen is a check to Maistro Associates for $2,500.
Tom Hardiman’s name is coming up again. Remember, he’s the contractor who testified before the break who also testified that work couldn’t be successfully bid on without going through Bobby Ferguson, first.
Here’s what’s going on. Bernard Kilpatrick’s attorney is trying to give Bernard plausible deniability. He’s putting the weight on Ferguson as the go-to guy, but even though there was a check made out to Maestro Associates, which was Bernard’s business, the dot’s trying to be connected are that BK didn’t direct business to Ferguson, but other business people did.
Keep in mind, these witnesses are being asked to recall details that happened eight or nine years ago. Mr. Rachmale speaks with a heavy Indian accent and that’s important in that, he is constantly asking for clarification or for questions to be repeated. If the attorney is trying to confuse Rachmale, it might be working, and he could draw a conclusion that his testimony isn’t consistent. But keep in mind you’ve got a whole bunch of jurors who also have to keep track of the rapid fire questioning and the testimony of a man who seems a bit confused and fuzzy on some of the details of the past.
Gerald Evelyn is cross examining Avinash Rachmale. If you think he was confused before, wait until Evelyn gets wound up. He tends to be a rapid –fire quiz-master.
Okay, here’s my observation, and remember it’s just a personal observation. These attorneys, both on the prosecution side and the defense side have such an intimate knowledge of all of these facts, they know these exhibits and they know the point they want to drive home to the jury with each. But after years of covering trials... almost thirty...yes I started when I was six ;-), what I have found is if you don’t connect the dots in a chronological easy to understand story, you’ll lose the jury.
What’s happening here is receipts and emails are being tossed up on an overhead projector and pulled down so quickly it’s hard to digest what’s what.
Let me give you a visual of what’s going on in the courtroom. Bobby Ferguson just hopped seats to sit next to Kwame Kilpatrick. Ferguson has been spending a lot of time jotting down notes on a legal pad. He’s big on talking. I’ve noticed that in the past. He likes to talk, he likes people to see that he’s talking, he likes to be visible taking notes. Not sure if he’s listening, but he's doing a lot of talking and note taking. It's interesting because his name is coming up more than any other name, at the moment, and its his defense attorney trying to wade through the thick accent and confusion of a witness who is testifying against him.
Kwame is reclined just a bit. His arms are loosely crossed. Even though he’s an attorney he doesn’t seem to do much writing. I don't see him talking to his attorneys much, he’ll confer with Ferguson, and sometimes exchange eye contact with his dad, Bernard who’s got a direct line of vision because he's on the long side of the ‘L’ of the defense table.
Gerlad Evelyn is winding up now. He’s rapid-fire questioning the witness. Evelyn is trying to draw a conclusion that Ferguson was giving up contract work when the company went with a different contractor and therefore needed to be paid. In other words, if he was contracted to do the work and the company changed their mind, it means they have to pay a penalty. The question will be, was this penalty money for breaking a contract with Bobby Ferguson, or Pay-to-Play money to get City contracts to begin with.