Judge says they have to file witness list by 3pm today.
Judge says 8:30AM tomorrow morning please.
Alright, so in essence we are moving into the extortion chapter and it seems that the government may have some new witnesses. Defense complaining they don't get a whole lot of advance notice implying that the government sits on things for awhile. Clearly, the judge doesn't agree but does want to ensure timely disclosure.
Today marked the end of the Kilpatrick Civic Fund chapter of the Kwame Kilpatrick federal trial.
The day got off to an interesting start with the glaring absence of former Detroit water department boss Vicor Mercado and one of his lawyers, Martin Crandall, from the courtroom. Judge Nancy Edmunds informed the court that they were in the building reviewing some documents. Mercado's absence generated much more of a buzz than his presence ever did as it had the rumor mill swirling at full tilt as to what he could possibly be doing.
More witnesses testified to receiving checks from the Kilpatrick Civic Fund. Linda Byrd, former head of A Step Ahead preschool in Detroit, told the court that she received a $5,000 check from the Civic Fund for the preschool's graduation activities in 2002, the same year Kilpatrick twins Jelani and Jalil graduated. In earlier questioning of IRS agent Ron Sauer, Kwame defense lawyer Jim Thomas had implied that the twins had graduated a year earlier.
Graduation activities included a "Kinder Prom" with a formal dance, a graduate trip, speeches and performances and the actual ceremony. Byrd testified that she spoke with Carlita Kilpatrick, a member of the school's PTO, about the possibility of inclement weather during graduation and the need to buy a tent. Shortly thereafter, Carlita returned with the Civic Fund check for $5,000.
During cross examination the former mayor's defense lawyer Jim Thomas elaborated on Byrd's description of the school graduation being open to everyone.
"So it was a community function?", asked Thomas in justification of the Civic Fund payment. Absolutely replied the witness.
Realtor Aaliyah Salaam testified that her company, Regality Management Services, received payment from the Civic Fund when the Kilpatrick family signed a 6 month lease on a temporary apartment rental in September 2008. On an invoice of $17,500, 3 checks totaling $12,800 were issued from the Civic Fund as partial payment.
The court also heard about more Civic Fund solicited donations from companies. Gwendolyn Butler of Chicago-based investment managers Capri Capital Partners testified to donating $5,000 in July 2008 and David Upmeyer of Tetra Tech, a consulting engineering firm that has worked with Detroit's Water and Sewerage Department for 20 years, said they gave $4,000 in June 2008.
Investment banker Fred Prime testified that his company Loop Capital Markets made four donations of $10,000 to the Civic Fund. Prime said that after hearing news reports in 2008, his company opted to give no further donations to the non-profit.
Mr. Thomas got the banker to concede that he sometimes conducts business during golf outings. This was obviously in reference to testimony that a Civic Fund check for more than $3,000 was used to buy golf clubs and a bag embroidered with "The Mayor".
U.S. Attorney Eric Doeh was having none of it.
"Did Loop Capital purchase your clubs?, he asked the witness on redirect. No answered Prime.
The last witness on the day was IRS agent Rowena Schuch. Her testimony went directly to discrediting some of the earlier defense cross examination of IRS agent Ron Sauer. With regards to a Civic Fund payment of $1,026 to Joan Anderson Travel, Bernard Kilpatrick's lawyer John Shea had intimated that Bernard may not have been in New Orleans in early February 2008. But the IRS had credit card charges for a meal, hotel and some jewelry that proved he most definitely was there in that time frame.
The best word play of the day went to Jim Thomas. Earlier in the trial, Thomas had cross examined agent Sauer about a stay at the Sonnenalp Resort in Vail, Colorado that was paid in part with a Civic Fund check for more than $1,000. The defense lawyer had implied that the former mayor was there to attend a National Conference of Mayors.
Agent Schuch testified today that the IRS subpoenaed the schedules for any possible conference of mayors- they never found a National Conference of Mayors- and none of them listed a meeting in Denver in November 2002.
"Did you ever talk to anyone in the mayor of Denver's office?" Thomas asked a perplexed Schuch.
So it's not a "National Conference of Mayors" but a "conference with the mayor".
Court resumes tomorrow at the earlier time of 8:30AM to deal with a legal issue related to the extortion chapter of the trial.
IRS agent Rowena Schuch
KCF 27 check: looking at document from Joan Anderson travel for Bernard Kilpatrick on February 1st and 5th 2002 to New Orleans. Also for Bobby Ferguson. Paid for KCF $1,026 check from KCF in January 2002.
BKF 20: Bernard Kilpatrick's diner Club statement for February 22nd 2002. Looked for payments in New Orleans. Found a transaction at a bistro and one for a hotel for $340 on February 5th.
BKF 20A: a Citi card MasterCard statement for Bernard. There is another Citi card Visa for Bernard in the February 2002 time period.
MasterCard statement: closing date February 6th 2002. Charge in New Orleans on February 3rd at jewelers for $400.
Visa statement: More at Currents Jewelers for $765 on same day.
John Shea cross examines.
Shea is saying that he was skeptical in previous questioning of IRS agent Ron Sauer that Bernard was even in New Orleans in February 2002 so this investigation was subsequent to that? Yes.
Did you learn that there was a delegation from southeast Michigan that went to New Orleans in February 2002 for super Bowl planning? No.
Thomas cross examines.
You looked up conferences of mayors as a result of my questioning of agent Sauer? Yes.
There was National Conference of Black Mayors and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Did you find out if Kwame was a member of those conferences? No.
Who contacted them? I don't know.
You're testifying on what someone else did?
KCF 108- U.S. Conference of mayors. Agenda of events for 2002. Do you know who the President of US Conference of Mayors? No.
Do you know any of the protocols or rules for calling meetings? No.
Did you talk to staff to see if there were any other meetings that could have occurred other than this? I didn't have any contact with anyone from the U.S. conference of Mayors.
Witness says as far as she knows this is the official calendar.
Are you ruling out the possibility there could have been other meetings? I don't know.
And that's because you didn't talk to anyone at the US conference of Mayors? Correct.
Would you think supporting the preschool graduation ceremony, would you consider that a community activity to enhance neighborhoods? i don't know.
You understand that people from the community came, maybe as many as 180 additional people, would you consider that a community activity? I suppose so.
Were you aware in 2002 there was ongoing discussion on mass transit? No.
Did you talk to anyone in Mayor of Denver's office? no.
Did you do anything other than task a secretary with making calls? No.
Witness says she has no idea what Kwame did when he was in Denver.
Thomas implying that Kwame met with Denver mayor. Conference with mayor.
About the author:
Alexandra Harland is a Princeton undergrad and has a masters degree in International affairs with Columbia. A Montreal native, she worked with the Daily Telegraph newspaper for a few years before transitioning to TV, when she worked at ABC News with Peter Jennings. Alexandra has also worked in newsrooms in both Detroit and Boston.