Kwame Kilpatrick on Trial: Day 63
Local 4 is inside the courtroom for the federal corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Kilpatrick's dad Bernard Kilpatrick and his childhood friend Bobby Ferguson. Each day we bring you information from inside federal court as it happens.
Attorneys are in the judges chambers. Only the three rain soaked defendants are in the courtroom.
The government is expected to rest its case today, off tomorrow, and the defense starts its case Thursday.
Litigants file-in ready to go. Michael (the rat) Rataj is at the podium ready to go!
IRS Agent Rowena Schuch in the witness stand.
Judge Edmunds enters and the jury files in.
Rataj continues questioning Agent Schuch's chart showing checks to cash/cash withdrawals made by Bobby Ferguson and his companies from 2002 to 2008.
Rataj is challenging the math used to arrive at the totals on the IRS Chart. The exhibit is very hard to see, so we are in the unfortunate position to have to take the word of the defense.
5 checks that add up to $10,200 are shown in a personal account of Bobby Ferguson on the chart. Agent Schuch is checking the documents and has agreed.
In the seven years that are covered in this chart, Ferguson only personally cashed these five checks.
We now move on to college funds for the five Ferguson Children. The chart shows eight business account and one personal account, but don't include the college funds. The inference is some cash withdrawals were for the college accounts.
The IRS Chart does not include the payees other than Ferguson and cash.
Rataj has now isolated some checks that appear to be pay checks for Bobby Ferguson, and another $12k check with the memo "parts." Another $21k check with the memo "graphics." And, another for $12k had the memo "ws 863 8 mile asphalt pavement."
The government made no reference to these memos written on the checks that make it appear many of the checks made to cash were for business expenses.
Rataj is not producing any receipts to verify any of these checks were actually used for the purposes written in the memo lines but, the defense doesn't have that burden.
Two cashiers checks have been shown were paid to Florida A&M and Lane Universities for Fergusons daughters.
The Government reviewed 60 to 70 certificates of deposits and bank accounts held by Ferguson and his family to verify the checks to cash were not deposited into any of these accounts.
Rataj is finished - 20 minute break.
During the break Kwame was downing the Slim-fast, which was purchased by a man who appeared to be one of his fans (supporters?)
10:38AM - side bar
Back in session - re-direct from Jennifer Blackwell.
Blackwell asks Agent Schuch if she had any evidence that the item in the memo line was actually used for that item.
Rataj objects - Schuch indicated in cross that she did not look at the memo lines.
Government moves on: asks to admit copies of checks.
Defense objects on foundation.
Rataj is allowed to question Schuch on the basis of the evidence.
There were over 400 checks reviewed by the government as evidence.
Schuch claims to recognize the checks that are from Ferguson when she did not in earlier testimony.
The judge does not allow the checks as evidence.
Rataj reminds the jury: in the seven years that are covered in the IRS Chart, Ferguson only personally cashed five checks.
Rataj is done.
Schuch is excused.
Blackwell returns to the podium and reads some stipulations which give them jurisdiction in this case - housekeeping?
Mark Chutkow calls FBI Agent Robert Beeckmen, and asks to admits more evidence. Wiretap conversations.
No objection from the defense.
November 15, 2007 wire tap between Bernard Kilpatrick and Kwame Kilpatrick. Agent Beckman had paid a visit to Michael Tardif on this day, former aid to Kwame Kilpatrick - Tardif was not home and Agent Beckman left a business card in his door.
In the recording Kwame appear to be speaking in code to his father - talking about a "little white guy" running around.
"You got to stay away from that little white guy for a minute."
"from Chi?" (Marc Cunningham?) responded Bernard. "No, him, him too your favorite white brother." from Kwame.
BK - "you mean Arab?" (Karl Kado?)
KK - "no,no Pop. From up the way...like Farris State?" (Rosendall?)
KK - "this little white guy that be around here doing all the business." (Tardif is white and only 5'4")
Defense objects, calls for speculation.
August 7, 2007 - Bernard Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson recorded phone conversation.
BK - We don't get no ticket for Chen Park
BF - "I guess wire tap going on."
BF - I guess water's got something going on. (Victor Mercado)
BK - I need a couple, man about 2 grand
March 5, 2008 - Bernard and Rosendall.
"I could uh, cool as me and this guy is, I could have him you know, not blow it up, but I could have him know what to do."
March 20, 2003 - text between Kwame and Ferguson
BF - white boy thinks he is slick, don't have no real money. FEI did 20,000 job. Alright is building safety f*cks with his permit?
KK - Get back with you.
Government isn't really adding any comments to these exhibits - just presenting this to the jury.
More text between Ferguson and Kilpatrick showing communication about various city contracts.
Moving on to the book Cadillac Project -
Now, a credit card receipts showing Alberici Construction made a purchase at Joe Louis Arena for around $800.
A text indicates Red Wings tickets were received by Mayor Kilpatrick and others involved in the project.
Text indicate Ferguson needed help dealing with "white folks." Kwame agreed.
Bobby indicates he is famous but needs to get some money.
KK - Lets get you some.
BF - Us
Records indicate Ferguson was paid $9,198,153 for the Book Cadillac Project.
Text between Christine Beatty and Kilpatrick: Indicate Ferguson wanted to lose a strategic major bid but, he would be in the deal in the end.
This was the deal to build the new Detroit Police Headquarters, this never came about at that time. The new DPD HQ is currently under construction.
The government is just pounding out the text messages - fast. The jury must be on the ropes.
Back from break -
Judge says we are obviously not going to wrap-up today, but we will still be off tomorrow. Hopefully, the Government can finish Thursday, but right now it doesn't look probable.
Back to the text onslaught.
More texts between Kilpatrick and Ferguson indicating city deals are being steered to Bobby. Reference to a Crains Magazine interview of Ferguson where Kwame is pleased to hear Bobby is getting FEI some positive PR. Ferguson text Kilpatrick he played down their relationship. told reporter: "he didn't contribute cash to Kilpatrick campaign, just grass roots passing out literature."
On an out-of-town trip, Kilpatrick texts Ferguson to buy Superbowl Tickets when they were in San Diego. Ferguson directed Kilpatrick to the safe in his hotel room that contained $7,500. Further text indicate Kwame got the money and bought tickets.
A few more text message that appear to show the close relationship between Mayor Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson. The text also seem to indicate Ferguson had complete access to the mayor.
No further questions.
Shea starts the cross - concerning the recorded telephone conversation between Bernard and Kwame. Shea asks Agent Beckman if he was aware Bernard had several clients from Chicago. Its not possible to know who he was addressing.
In the conversation with Bobby Ferguson and Bernard where he seemed to ask for cash - there is no evidence Bernard ever received any cash as a result of that request.
Now, on to a Superbowl trip to New Orleans. You don't need to be a city offical to go to the Superbowl.
All done for the day