1:34PM Gerald Evelyn, lawyer for Bobby Ferguson.
This is going to be one of the hardest things you've ever going to have to do. You're going to be challenged to avoid the publicity on this case. You have to put everything out of your mind. You are going to be presented with evidence, pictures of money, to get your blood going. A 100 page indictment, over 100 witnesses in this case. You could be overwhelmed by the sheer quantity. They have a lot of quantity in this case, not quality. To do that is going to be a Herculean task. There are people in this courtroom who believe that you are not going to be misled and let the passions of other people drive your decisions. We are betting on you using your common sense.
Mr. Kilpatrick was the original target of this investigation. You are going to learn about the power of the federal of the government. Unequal power.
The pressure from the government causes some people to lie. You're going to have to think about that when you listen to the testimony of certain witnesses. Like the police officer who will say that Ferguson threatened him. These are examples of how this case is built on a foundation of nothing, of Jell-O.
Mahlon Clift, Derrick Miller.
They are going to say things that are not consistent with things they said earlier. The government will select 40 or so text messages out of 600,000. You'll be able to put them in context. Yes some of the language will be coarse. Kwame and Ferguson were active in trying to increase opportunities for minorities in Detroit-based business. When you study Kwame's record as mayor, you will see positive things happened in the city. Kwame and Ferguson were friends and are friends. The government will try to criminalize that relationship. That relationship did give Ferguson access and there is nothing illegal in that. The unfettered access the government claim took place will be shown to be inaccurate. The government will parade witnesses in here who want to see him go out of business
You're going to learn about Bobby Ferguson and the businesses he started-- he tried to get Latinos and blacks started in business.
When Bobby was 17, his father had a heart-attack and he took the reins of his father's business. His business did not start with Kwame Kilpatrick's administration. Poppycock. It existed under 3 administrations. His company had reputation for high quality work.
Comerica, Compuware, MGM Grand, CVS- these all preceded Kwame Kilpatrick. "He has the best equipment and delivers best prices"- from John Rakolta, a government witness.
He was sometimes angry and the text messages reflect that. His employees had MBAs and were all colors and of all races.
People would create fake minority companies to get a lot more in their pockets. Ferguson had employees, paid insurance and had a lot of high quality, expensive equipment. He learned his business from the ground up.
He believed in giving back. Getting other minority businesses started. Charitable organizations.
Examine this evidence carefully. You're going to learn that services were actually provided. Ask if when the investigation did they try to hide anything or was it full disclosure.
Some will lie for personal gain or for competition reasons. Derrick Miller his version changes every time he talks.
There is no, was never any, Kilpatrick enterprise. I'm kind of moved to say something about what Mr. Crandall said. It landed on everyone. Mercado's a good man. He's also terrified man.
Mr. Ferguson and Mercado are 2 different people. What is clear is that if his lawyer is correct, there can be no conspiracy without Mercado.
The evidence is going to be very clear that while Mr. Mercado was a good administrator, there were others who did very good work.
I'm going to save us all a lot of time. Promise me something. That you're going to pause. Take one witness at a time. For the co-operating witnesses, give their testimony more scrutiny. If you're careful over the next few months and have the courage of your convictions, don't worry about the newspapers, serve justice in this case and find my client not guilty.
12:40PM So, by the lunch hour we're almost through with opening statements. We've heard from the government and the lawyers for Kwame Kilpatrick, Victor Mercado and Bernard Kilpatrick. After lunch, we get to hear from Bobby Ferguson's lawyer and opening statements should be concluded.
The defense line-up is pretty revealing . First up was Jim Thomas for Kwame Kilpatrick, then Martin Crandall for Victor Mercado followed by John Shea for Bernard Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson's lawyer will be last. Interesting particularly because Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson who face the most counts are the book-ends to defense statements and Victor Mercado, who has done the utmost to distance himself from his co-defendants, is sandwiched in the middle of them all.
Martin Crandall, Mercado's lawyer, gave the lengthiest statement clocking in at almost an hour. As he spoke, stressing vigorously Mercado's outsider status to the "circle of trust", Kwame Kilpatrick focused on taking notes.
Statements will continue at 1:30 pm.
12:30PM Shea ends. Judge Nancy Edmunds calls the lawyers to sidebar. Break until 1:30PM.
12:29PM Shea continued. At the end of the day I'm going to be asking you to return verdict of not guilty.
12:00PM John Shea, lawyer for Bernard Kilpatrick. I want to start by saying a contrast between how I see the case and how they see the case.