A racketeering indictment has consequences too. I'm going to talk about his extensive experience. The indictment took him from his water career. After he left, he was making similar money in San Antonio Texas. He . was indicted on racketeering charges, worked his way through college with engineering degree. Then the nuclear bomb. Now he works as a clerk at a store. Collateral damage. Government says the salary was enough to keep him going. Water directors around the country, Victor has worked in NY, NJ, Virginia, Puerto Rico and oversees, Colombia, Mexico, and his salary, Victor didn't choose it, Judge Feikens, the water czar, chose that salary. Crandall shows a chart documenting Mercado's salary evolution to show that it wasn't so off his salary of $170,000 in Puerto Rico.When you choose an employee, you choose someone who can get the job done. You want someone with experience. Other people in this position, an LA water director makes more than $300,000. It's not out of range what Victor made.If someone was forcing him or colluding with him to steer contracts to Bobby Ferguson, he could have had a golden parachute and walk away. The evidence will show that Victor didn't deal with Bobby Ferguson, a subcontractor. He dealt with the primaries. The other theory of racketeering enterprise was covered in a footnote of opening state of government: "Victor obstructed justice by lying to an attorney in a deposition by hiding the fact that he was dealing with Bobby Ferguson on a contract." Now think of this, Victor gets hired by Feikens in 2002, he really gets along with him. Feikens really likes him because he's a damn good engineer. He's also a bit of a son of a (expletive) when running the department.
The water department covers the water services of 40% of the state of Michigan. In southeastern Michigan, it's a billion dollar a year business. And Victor's job was to run that department. So the Feikens/Mercado relationship is strong. Victor reports to him monthly- is water flowing, do we have any big problems. Government's theory is that Victor is going to lie to Feikens to protect the Kilpatrick enterprise which he is not a part off.
Jurors will be the judges of facts with common sense. In June 2008, Victor decided to leave Detroit and Feikens begged him to stay. He said no I'm leaving. Not only did Victor not get illegal money but there are witnesses under oath who are going to tell you they offered Victor gratuities. Jim Rosendall said Victor I want to fly you to Mackinaw Island. Victor said, with all due respect, I don't take gratuities. Rosendall offered him a condo in Naples. And Victor says no. It's not in DNA, lifestyle, not what his parents taught him. "
10:57AM Judge asks Mr. Martin Crandall, lawyer for Victor Mercado to speak
10:56AM everyone standing to order waiting for the Judge to reconvene the session.
10:42AM So the opening statements are coming fast and furious. U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow bombarded the courtroom with a slew of alleged crimes and money transactions. The atmosphere is significantly more serious and tense than it has been for jury selection. The defendants are being incredibly attentive as are the jurors who are taking in absolutely everything, no small feat given the preponderance of facts introduced by the government.
The pace of opening statements is actually quite fast. U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow spoke for more than 40 minutes and Jim Thomas was about 20 minutes. Still left are the lawyers for co-defendants Bobby Ferguson, Bernard Kilpatrick and Victor Mercado.
10:30AM Thomas concludes. 15 minute break.
10:29AM Jim Thomas continued. If you listen to the facts you will find my client innocent.
10:11AM Jim Thomas, lawyer for Kwame Kilpatrick. Politics is a tough business. Mr. Chutkow's statements are not evidence at all. You've all been exposed to stories of Kilpatrick. There are 2 sides to the story. You are the judges of the facts. You heard what Mr. Chutkow had to say- that's as good as it's going to get. We're going to show you a complete picture. The government has thrown in everything but the kitchen sink. You're going to learn a lot about politics. It's like making sausage. It's messy but once it's cooked it's pretty good. You're going to have sour grapes from contractors coming in who have lost bids. Prosecution decides when to indict. This man's life has been laid open for everyone.
We're here to tell you he didn't take any bribes, extort anybody.
He embraced the idea of good government and providing necessary services to the city.
Now Bobby Ferguson, Bernard Kilpatrick, we embrace the relationship. We embrace the relationship of father and best friend. As relates to Mr. Mercado, he was brought after nationwide search. He was innovative and earned every penny of $240,000.
Kwame relied on Bernard for advice. Wonderful campaigner and fundraiser. Knew how to win election based on hard work. As consultant, he was effective.
You saw series of text messages up there, they are snippets. We intend to prove government targeted Kilpatrick very early on. Use of snippets without entire picture, you decide what was going on.
We sit in this big courtroom with 20 foot ceilings, government table only a fraction of the people working. Government power is awesome.
You are going to be determining innocence or if the burden of proof has been met.
You have to raise money to be a legislator. Not pretty, it's messy. This is the system we have. Messy but it works.
Conspiracy government is contending doesn't really track. Running a city is like guiding a ship. Everyone has their interest. Each one of the interests is competing.
Government is going to rely on series of witnesses. Going back to my concept of power of government. They have the power to offer people consideration for what they say.
Derrick Miller was indicted. Mr. Chutkow said Miller gave Kwame money. Went to the bathroom with him and gave him $10,000. That's the best he could come up with. Miller giving him $10,000 on a $5,000 deal.
Clift supposedly got $90,000 in a bag in 50s and 100s and goes to the airport and thru security and nothing goes off? Nothing happened there. He decides to go see mayor and only take $50,000?
Emma Bell was a fundraiser. Evidence will show she was grabbing money with both hands like Miller. Unbeknownst to Mr. Kilpatrick, it went to the casino. She gambled over $300,000. It was only when they came after her that she decided to minimize her time by talking about Kilpatrick.
We're talking about a gambler, a greedy underlying and someone who has dementia and ask you to buy what they are selling.
We want you to know a scam when you see it.