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.
Witness testimony continues tomorrow at 9 a.m.