8:48AM It was all about Emma Bell yesterday and it looks like we are set to get a whole lot more.
Local 4 cameras were rolling Thursday morning as the ex-fundraiser for Kwame Kilpatrick walked into federal court in Detroit to testify against him.
Bell didn’t comment.
Once inside the federal courthouse, Bell rode the elevator up with IRS special agent Ron Sauer, the man who investigated Bell and who yesterday detailed her years of tax evasion, multiple cash transactions and gambling habits at Detroit casinos.
Bell seems nervous, but has a sweet smile for the security staff here checking her in
“She really is sweet. This is going to be a tough day,” said Bell’s attorney, Avery Bradley to Local 4 News.
Testimony on Wednesday by an 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 kick backed more than $250,000 to 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.
Kilpatrick attorney Jim Thomas tried to poke holes in Bell's credibility by saying she didn’t file tax returns and insinuated Bell kept bank balances low to avoid triggering suspicion and had a drinking habit.
Oh, and possibly a little gambling problem too.
Bell plead guilty to tax evasion last year. She was sentenced to 18 months in jail but may see that amount reduced.
9:00AM Video still dark. We know court isn't in session yet but usually able to get a little peak of activity before things really get going. Anticipation that Emma Bell may be first witness today.
If Bell testifies this morning, she'll be the first co-operating witness to take the stand.
Bell arrived to the U.S. District courthouse this morning with her lawyer Avery Bradley who told Local 4 "She really is sweet. This is going to be a tough day.”
And we wait.
9:07AM Apparently, all the lawyers are having discussions with the judge about some preliminary issue in chambers. Thus the dark screens.
9:16AM Video finally turns on. First thing I see is Bobby Ferguson who from the video monitor looks like he is wearing a a brown leather jacket. Very slick.
Forgot to mention lawyers in sidebar with judge.
9:19AM Judge says to call jurors in.
Welcomes them in. Two things, first is that alternate #5 has been excused from the case. A male. Second thing, what is evidence and what is not. Perfectly ok to ask in cross-examination to put a fact in question. But that's not evidence. The witness's answer is. There is a lot of that type of questioning in this case. I want to stress this applies equally to prosecution and defense.
9:23AM Government calls Emma Bell.
Bell steps up to the stand. Wearing grey jacket, strand of pearls and black rim glasses. Never looked at Kwame on way to stand.