Jurors hear for more final remarks in corruption trial of former Detroit mayor
Kwame Kilpatrick's attorney urges jurors to acquit him on all 30 charges
Local 4 is inside the courtroom for the federal corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Kilpatrick's dad Bernard Kilpatrick and his childhood friend Bobby Ferguson. Each day we bring you information from inside federal court as it happens.
So, defense closing arguments will continue today at the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse. Bernard Kilpatrick's defense lawyer John Shea was dramatically interrupted Tuesday afternoon when two sick jurors bolted from the courtroom.
Previous story: Illness halts Kilpatrick closing arguments
Kwame Kilpatrick had his final words in the form of his lawyer Jim Thomas's closing arguments. Kwame's family including wife Carlita, 3 sons, sister Ayanna Kilpatrick and mother Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick all appeared in the courtroom in a familial show of support.
Wondering if Shea will take up where he stopped or if he will just start all over again. It's questionable if the sick jurors were able to properly concentrate on what he was saying.
9:05AM Judge enters and says there is additional jury instruction that is not problematic.
Judge tells Shea that jurors have requested he start over. I'm a psychic!
Shea starts over. Says it's not a bad thing. Will not completely start over by discussing age, family and work experience. Doesn't have to retread all the ground.
Correcting misstatement. Kwame and Bernard would not have been in the same building but the point is the same that it would have been problematic.
Bernard started Maestro Consultants. Consultants act as representatives for state, federal government with issues that their client has.
Talking about how they do it. By having personal relationships with people that permit them to pick up a phone and make call. Gives them access. Also by having knowledge of how government processes work.
Bernard, in particular, was valuable as a consultant. the greater the network, the greater the experience, the more valuable the consultant is. Bernard had both in spades.
Lots of consultants used in this case. nothing wrong with Bernard being a consultant. No more illegal for him to act in that capacity than Curtis Herrel, Conrad Mallett, who also had personal relationship with mayor by working in Kwame's first campaign. nothing illegal or improper about being consultants.
Bernard was not always successful as a consultant. He did not get what he wanted all the time. We heard from Derrick miller. Bernard took his lumps.
Government argument for Bernard is that they claim he used business and personal relationships to extort people. They presented 5 chapters in this case regarding Bernard to illustrate this. I think they failed utterly.
In closing the discussed 3, Marc Andre Cunningham, Karl Kado and James Rosendall.
2 they did not discuss Jon Rutherford and Capital Waste.
Rutherford knew Bernard for some years prior to meeting Kwame. Rutherford testified that shortly after Kwame became mayor, Cassandra Smith Grey approached Rutherford and askes if he had a contract for Bernard. Rutherford advised Bernard and described why he thought that Bernard would be valuable to him. He had relationships with people, including the mayor. The relationships were one reason.
Second, Bernard had extensive career in government that deals with private sector.
He thought it valuable to have someone with Bernard's level of experience to assist in government relationships.
Example of work in first 13 months for Rutherford: obtained real estate records for properties on the waterfront for the convention center plans, collected information for tower placements, Rutherford was owed money by the county for mental health services and he asked Bernard to help collect that money. Bernard was doing things for the money. that was in 2002 and Rutherford testified in 2012.
Bernard was paid monthly for 13 months, typically about $10,000. Rutherford paid other consultants as well similarly: Curits Hertel, Six Communications that he paid monthly as well.
Look how the relationship ended. Bernard made $10,00 a month which is pretty good change and leaves to take position with Wayne County Mental Health board. There was nothing extortionate in the least about it. and there was nothing to do with Kwame at all.
Kado is someone who said that Bernard extorted for no work over $180,000 to $300,000 depending on the day that Kado is remembering for no work. We got used to hearing different stories under government questioning and defense cross. Kado would flip flop from one sentence to the next , no matter who was asking the questions.
Recall at the end of my cross of him, when I asked him to read a section of a transcript and he could not read words without inserting his additional words because he insisted that's how it happened. It was complete fear.
Kado also knew Bernard before Kwame was elected mayor. Also met Bernard back in the 90s. they became friends because Bernard went to his store all the time. Saw him so much that he gave him a line of credit at the store. Finally, he ultimately acknowledged that he was such a regular guy that he gave him a line of credit at the store that he paid off every week.
Kado had a food service contract at Cobo Hall and had that in the Archer administration. When Kwame was becoming mayor, there was an opportunity for cleaning contract and then there was the electrical contract. He had a hidden interest in that he was giving kickbacks to Lou Pavledes, head of Cobo. So he had a hidden interest in wanting Lou to stay.
It took awhile but he acknowledged that he asked Bernard to help him protect his interests in Cobo Hall.
He acknowledged that he asked Bernard to help with electrical contract. He confirmed under cross that his understanding with Bernard required him to pay Bernard for his services.
In addition, Miller testified that Kado waas one of Bernard's best clients. He used Bernard as point of contact with ADA complaints. There is no question that Bernard and Karl Kado had a client relationship and that Bernard provided real services in connection with that.
There are also text messages. Take a look at the text messages between Bernard and Derrick Miller regarding Karl Kado and contracts.
Remember that there was a meeting between Kado and Bernard in February 2008 at Tom's Oyster Bar. They talked about all kinds of things. Talked about contracts that Kado claimed he was owed money on: cleaning and electrical contracts. Bernard says that it's just that they can't do legally and that he will meet with Amru.
"That one, that one, all what I am concerned with" says Kado in transcript of that February meeting referring to the electrical contract.
Kado testified that he paid Bernard monthly in 2002 and 2003 and made a final payment of $100,000 in June 2005. Nothing inconsistent with Kado paying him monthly. Let's remember that because Kado paid in cash , he didn't keep good records.
That may sound like a lot of money, the electrical contracts and cleaning contracts, generated $15 million alone. Bernard helped in getting those contracts.
Government mentioned the $100,000 like there was something wrong with it. First, Kado said he stopped monthly payments in 2003. Bernard tells Kado at one point that he was hiding under a rock. It was catch up payment.
Bernard was not dogging Kado for that money. Kado came forward with that money. Came forward to make things right with his consultant. nothing illegal with that.
There is no record in this testimony about invoices one way or another. So waht? Who needs an invoice ever month? Rutherford answered a question about monthly payment records by saying, "Why would I want to do that?"
Kado paid in cash because he was skimming cash. Jim Thomas got him to admit that. That was the basis of his ta=x fraud problems. Skimming cash to hide revenues for the IRS. That's why he was skimming cash.
He testified that Bernard demanded cash. Bottom line with Kado is there is no question that he asked for Bernard's services and that Kado paid for the services. Nothing extortionate here.
Second chapter with Kado has to do with 2008 activities. Kado was owed by his estimate $1.6 million by the city of Detroit including cleaning services in the DAH building. Government wired Kado and tried to trap Bernard into doing something illegal. They didn't get that.
Listening to recorded conversation. Tom's Oyster Bar, February 2008. Bernard adds up figures to see how much he should get. Bernard asks what he thinks it's fair. This is Karl Kado offering 10%.
More excerpt played. "I won't pay anything until I get my money," says Kado.
"I wouldn't expect it," says Bernard.
This is not Bernard demanding any particular amount. This is Kado acting as the agent of the government.
Later, he prompts Bernard again.
Nothing extortionate about this conversation.
Bernard is doing real work. even before this conversation, he is already doing work.
Listening to another recorded conversation. Bernard being told by Kwame that Kado could get only about $180,000 to $200,00 out of the total that he wants because there are things that the city can't pay for. Bernard says he told Kado there would be problems but that Kado wanted it.
This doesn't sound like conspiratorial conversation. Kwame telling his dad they they will only pay about 20% of what he thinks he is owed when he comes and does a global settlement. The mayor of the city of Detroit is saying that he is not giving his guy what he wants.
After the Tom's Oyster Bar meeting, Bernard continues to work. More conversations with Kado where he asks about DAH. Bernard says he has talked people up.
On March 1st, Kado pulls the plug on the whole thing. I'm not going to pay you, don't want the money anymore, stop work.
Listening to the conversation. Bernard saying that Kado told him that was the deal and that he went to work on it.
"I do not want to get paid. Doesn't matter," says Kado.
"You put me in a position," says Bernard..
"Ok, ok. You want me to leave it alone," says Bernard. Bernard says he got it all teed up. Doesn't realize that Kado is working for the government. All Bernard knows is that he is working under the terms of a deal accepted in good faith.
Bernard does stop work. Karl calls him back 2 weeks later and tells him to start again.
Listening to more recorded conversation. "I thought you told me to leave it alone?" asks a confused Bernard. "I just left it alone."
"I have to pay my taxes. I have to pay it in 10 days," says Kado. "Wow," says Bernard.
We know that Bernard is being paid by a cooperating government witness. there is nothing remotely improper by what he is doing here.
The funny thing is that he failed. Government told you that Kado didn't get paid because Bernard didn't get paid. Hogwash. There is nothing extortionate here. there is nothing conspiratorial here.
In late august 2005, Kado gets target letter claiming he is under investigation. He claims that he leaves and goes down to the parking lot and 2 minutes later Bernard comes down and offers him 10 years. Like Bernard had the power to get that kind of authorization.
Kado is debriefed in February, March 2006 and asked about all things Bernard. Doesn't mention this meeting with Bernard until October 2006.
Kado also testified that Bernard patted him down for a wire. Does he disclose this in October 2006? He discloses it 6 years to the day later in October 2012 that he first tells an agent. It is completely unbelievable.
This is one of the many ways that Kado tried to elevate his own position here. One more lie to spin.
In Kado's final testimony, Kado acknowledged that Bernard did not say that he had to pay someone to get a contract. There was nothing extortionate about this relationship.
Moving on to Marc Andre Cunningham. Perfect example of someone whose version of reality that changes depending on who is asking him. Cunningham was required to bring in Bernard for no work. That is what he told the government. Then he said that he did do work. Two different versions. How could this be?
Cunningham was caught taking money from an undercover policeman. Taking a $5,000 bribe to get these undercover police officers get business in the city. He was caught and asked if he wanted to cooperate and he said yes.
Trial day arrives, you give a version to the government that you hope will help. Both them under cross examination, the truth is different than that given to the government.
Cunningham's uncle Terry Jones wants $30 million for 2 city pension funds and offers him 1% success fee. Cunningham talks to Chris Jackson and Jeff Beasley about how to do this.
Under government questioning, talks about meeting at Mosaic with Chris Jackson after May 2006. Under cross, Cunningham admits that Bernard was brought on before May 2006, that he had experience. In Cunningham's own words, Bernard was there as the deal was moving forward and that he assisted in moving the deal forward. He also knew that Bernard expected to be paid.
Also acknowledged that his mentor Chris Jackson went absent for a month that made Bernard more valuable. while $15,000 may seem like good payment, that's only 5% of what Cunningham, a rookie, made.
This is a deal where Cunningham wouldn't make a dime unless the deal was successful.
Notwithstanding, the government argues this was a corrupt relationship. Argues that the locations where he received money where suspicious. Basement of the K-mac building. That's where Cunningham was working at the time.
Government said he was paid in cash. He was paid in cash.
Cunningham was getting more checks than he was paying Bernard out of. He's paying himself in cash too.
Cunningham said that Kwame told him to stop paying his dad after he was caught. I don't know if it's true, Cunningham said so many things. But even if it's true, you have a staffer has been caught doing something illegal and he is in a business relationship with your father. I think you'd want him to stay away from your father. I don't think that's an indication of a corrupt relationship at all.
Nothing extortionate there.
Moving on to Synagro. James Rosendall was the most manipulative and immoral witness. I heard someone say after his testimony that they needed an acid bath.
Synagro wanted the sludge project and the city was interested in it. Rosendall wanted the contract approved because he would get $3 million. He had a real serious interest in getting it approved.
It was a lengthy, complicated process. Rosendall was talking about this in 2002 and if not earlier.
Rosendall testified that the relationship happened at Manoogian, Miller testified it happened at a meeting. Regardless, it happened early on.
At the time in 2002,2003,2004, Kwame was special administrator on water contract. He had a lot of power on water contracts. He didn't have to go to City Council. Rosendall kind of complained Kwame didn't use those powers.
Kwame could have gotten through the approval process faster. It would have made sense for Kwame to do that if there was a conspiracy. But he didn't do that. He went through the standard process. It went through City Council. Rosendall and Rayford Jackson bought a councilwoman's vote. I don't think that if Bernard was trying to extort h, he would have left it to such an uncertain process.
Rosendall testified that he heard a rumor in Grand Rapids that Detroit was a "pay to play" city. and that's why he hired Bernard because he heard the rumor.
That contracts with Derrick Miller's testimony that Rosendall agreed that community outreach was important and that Bernard was someone with the necessary skill sets. Before Jackson, Bernard was the point person on the project including trying to get a meeting with Victor Mercado.
Jackson is brought in because Synagro does not want any hint that they are getting special consideration because they are dealing with father of the mayor. It makes complete sense. so he turned Synagro over to Jackson and continue to work behind the scenes. Jackson was out in public and dealing with City Council.
For all the work Bernard did, he got $10,000. This was under the table because Synagro did not want Bernard linked in any official way. What else did he get? He got a double-cross.
Rosendall testified that Rayford Jackson, Bernard and he had meetings started in the fall of 2007 where they started discussing memorializing Jackson agreement with Bernard because it was unwritten. they were going to run it through Akunna Olumba, Bernard's girlfriend. Unbeknownst to Bernard, Jackson and Rosendall were working behind the scenes against Bernard. Rosendall was leading him along and doing it complicit with Rayford Jackson.
Bernard finally got fed up. then after city Council approved the contract, they had a meeting in December 2007 at the Pancake House, Bernard, Rosendall and Olumba.
You hear Rosendall tell Bernard that he can expect half of the $100,00 success fees before the end of the year. then nothing for much of the rest of the month, until Bernard leaves the famous "vacation or not motherf$%^ing vacation" message.
First thing Rosendall does is call Jackson and they plot and scheme. Rayford suggests telling him he is under investigation for a housing scandal.
What does JR do next? He calls Bernard and tells him that. Bernard demands a meeting. Rosendall tells him to meet in the parking lot of his office. Government wants you to think they met in the parking lot because Bernard was afraid of bugs in the office.
Rosendall shows up with Cristal and gives $300 dollars in a gum wrapper. Rosendall worries and finally comes sort of clean to his boss Pam Racey. Doesn't tell her he has known this for month or that he has worked with Jackson to cut Bernard out.
Racey observes that Jackson is there because Bernard brought him. JR more than agrees.
Playing the conversation where Racey tells Rosendall to remember how he got hooked up with the job.
"We don't want to deal with people like that," says Racey about Jackson.
"Morall it's not right," says Rosendall.
So what was Rosendall doing all those months? Acting in a pretty immoral fashion. What this means is that Bernard's threats to blow up the house are not extortion. Judge has already instructed you on extortion. One of the elements is that they wrongfully use fear of economic fear to get something for themselves. Wrongful- to get unjustly because person has no lawful claim. Bernard had lawful claim to share in success. Racey says its lawful and had to honor it. Rosendall agreed. this is not extortion.
JR made it sound like Bernard didn't deserve the money because he didn't do as much work as Jackson. Once deal was made, Bernard was entitled to have it honored. He got angry- by saying, if you're going to screw me, you're not going to get the deal. That is not extortion. He never did anything to hurt that project.
10:20AM Judge calls for a 20 minute break.
10:49AM Judge Edmunds enters and jury files back in.
Judge says slight revision in the schedule. Had hoped to get all closing arguments in today, Shea will finish closing then lunch break, then Gerald Evelyn this afternoon. Government rebuttal tomorrow.
"You're not a windbag obviously," says the judge to US Attorney Mark Chutkow about the length of his rebuttal.
So no juror illness. Just scheduling issues.
Shea talking about Rosendall double-cross.
I want to talk about $5,000 payment that Rosendall made after working for the government. Think back to recorded meeting of December 4th 2007. Meeting with Olumba, Rosendall and Bernard.
After conversation with Pam Racey, what does Rosendall do? He calls Bernard and lies again. Guy just can't change his spots. Says that the home office is going to call Jackson and tell him to remember who put him there. Not true, but Bernard is gratified to hear it. working on the paperwork for Christmas.
Email on December 24th to Pam Racey about invoice. Clear he hadn't talked to anyone about it.
Rosendall goes out of town and returns Bernard's call. Substance of conversation is that I need an invoice. I've already spoken with Olumba and told her to prepare and invoice which she does. The Black Onyx invoice for $5,000.
Rosendall says he will get it to Pam Racey and it will be processed before Christmas. More lies.
Bernard and Olumba don't know that.
Rosendall says to prepare invoice and they'll get paid but of course it doesn't happen.
Government tried to make an issue of invoice reading "political consultant." But that's what Bernard did. And it was on Black Onyx because Synagro did not want to be linked to Bernard.
There's a meeting at Southern Fires in January 2008. Rosendall tries to slip him $2,500 in cash. Bernard says what are you doing I want a check. Rosendall explains that it's from him. Bernard says that's a problem too.
On March 5th, money still hasn't been paid.
Rosendall comes back with cash and at this point Bernard takes it. How long are you going to wait? He takes the cash in April as well which pays off the invoice.
I asked Rosendall if this was the same $5,000 that was invoiced. And he said yes.
I asked if he paid off the invoice in 2008. And he said yes.
This is a good point to remind you that Bernard is only charges on one substantive count. Attempted extortion. That relates to Rosendall. That is not attempted extortion.
Rosendall instructed them to send the invoice. It's not extortion.
What about conspiracy? Is there anything about the Synagro project that smacks of conspiracy. There is no extortion and there is no conspiracy either.
Yes Bernard may have been suggested as a consultant back in 2003 but there is little of Kwame in this.
I don't see any evidence of conspiracy but even more, Bernard is in a dispute with Rayford Jackson and Rosendall from late 2007 and into 2008. Does he call his son and tell him to mess those guys permits? Does he call his administration?
"If he is in a conspiracy, where are his efforts in leveraging his son's office?"
Rosendall discussing with Racey again the Bernard situation and Racey says I'm surprised that his son is not involved. Rosendall says he is not involved.
Rosendall was active in trying to kill his deal with Jackson. It is not wrongful, not extortion and not conspiracy.
Last business relationship chapter I want to discuss is the Book Cadillac project. I'm going to be quick on this. Bernard had a client- Capital Waste with principals John Ronco and John Francis. Project was halted because general contractor pulled out. New contractor came in and Capital Waste was no longer on. Capital Waste was Detroit-based and they were replaced with out of town outfit.
Bernard was upset that he had been trying to reach Jim Jenkins for months who kept putting him off. He voiced his complaint officially about that. Discussed going to Gerard Grant Phillips of the Human Rights Department. Bernard discussed going to George Jackson of the Detroit Economic Development Corp. FBI Agent Bob Beeckman said he would also have been an appropriate person to talk to.
Bobby Ferguson directed Bernard to his foreman Shakib Deria. Deria told him that they bribed the Marous Brothers to get the job. Offers to talk to the site superintendent. Bernard never does file a complaint. Had he taken action, he would have been completely justified in doing so.
If Kilpatrick had not done anything for his client, he would have been remiss. He was trying to assist them. There was nothing wrong with him speculating about legitimate complaints. This is not an example of Bernard trying to extort.
Kard Kado, Jon Rutherford, Marc Andre Cunningham, James Rosendall, Capital Waste. These are the core chapters that the government rests on. theses are the relationships that he leverages to benefit himself. Hogwash. Bernard Kilpatrick was doing legitimate work he was getting paid for. Sometimes not paid for as is the case with Kado.
I'm going to debunk myths. One is the sit down meetings. Chutkow said that Miller will tell you that these were to turn the most lucrative city contracts into money. One of earliest text messages that the government put up was Bernard texting his son. You'll see three meetings were held in 2 years. Ferguson wasn't even at all of them. Couldn't there have been other meetings? I can't say that.
"3 meetings in 2 years. Hardly a consistent, systematic approach to racketeering."
Miller said it was to discuss various topics. Miller reiterated that they were about business opportunities, political strategy and general powow. This isn't evidence of racketeering activity. Bernard could have called Iris or April Edgar and asked for a meeting with Kwame to discuss his clients. There is nothing wrong with a consultant calling the mayor and asking for a meeting. There is nothing wrong with that.
If he said, give me $5,000 or I'm not going to help you. There is something wrong with that.
Was it easy for Bernard to get a meeting with his son? Absolutely. But there is nothing wrong with that.
Remember Bobby Ferguson, Derrick Miller and Bernard were also important to Kwame for community outreach.
There were also sorts of things happening in the city of Detroit in 2002,2003 and 2004. All sorts of reasons why they might want to talk to mayor.
there is nothing about these meetings that demonstrates anything racketeering.
Second myth. There is a call where Bernard calls Bobby that he might hit up for a couple of thousand in summer 2007. But so what? There is no indication that Bernard and Ferguson worked together to do anything illegal.
No evidence that Bernard had anything to do with State Arts Grants at all. He did receive money from Kilpatrick for Mayor, $25,000, and $50,000 from the Civic Fund in 2008. He had no role on those non-profits at all. No evidence that Bernard received any compensation form those organizations prior to December 2007. does it show he was part of a conspiracy to defraud donors? No.
No evidence that in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 ,2006 and 2007 he called clients and told them to donate to the fund. No evidence of any attempt to defraud donors or divert funds. Did not knowingly participate in any conspiracy to do so.
There are 3 occasions where Civic Fund moneys where spent: 2002 Super Bowl. Easy to infer purpose for travel. Delegation from Detroit were going for preparation for their own Super Bowl. No evidence that Bernard went to the game. Doesn't show any fraudulent participation.
In late 2008, Bernard accompanied Carlita to Southlake. No evidence that Bernard even knew who was paying for his hotel. Not evidence of conspiracy to defraud donors.
In late December 2007 into early 2008, there was a trip to Orlando. Bernard went with girlfriend and family. In one of those hotels, Civic Fund paid for a room. Bernard knew that the Civic Fund was going to pay for a room. A few hundred bucks.
He took his lumps like everyone else did. Kado collection efforts. If he didn't money for Kado, didn't get paid. Capital Waste on book Cadillac project. Bernard doesn't attempt to get them on the project. took his lumps on that.
Synagro. Biggest deal of his life. Does not get his son involved. This is evidence of him not being involved in a conspiracy.
There are a lot of people looking for an angle to get government business who looked to Bernard. And now they have the nerve to say he extorted them. Cunningham cries he was extorted after being caught in sting operation.
Kado used Bernard to expand his business empire. When he's caught, says he's extorted.
Rosendall who had no objection to Bernard and then betrayed him. Bribes a councilwoman and then cries he's extorted.
"It's Alice in Wonderland down the rabbit hole kind of stuff," says Shea. "Where the manipulators and fixers become victims."
He is not guilty of these charges. Canonization is not part of this. Acquit him.
I want to sit down but have things to say about the 2 tax charges. Agent Schuch discussed an estimate- not something she can say is totally accurate. More important for 2004, the submission has to be subscribed under penalty of perjury. And it's not. the electronic filing authorization form contains the statement under penalty of perjury doesn't sign that.
This is a perjury statute. In this case, the tax preparers forgot to get the penalty of perjury signature.
2005, different case. He signed an electronic filing authorization and certainly $180,000 is material. But is it willful? Think about how little contact they had with him.
The fact that he did not call it out to them does not mean it is deliberate and willful.
I ask you after all this time to acquit him. Thank you.
Shea kisses his wife.
11:34AM Shea is done and Judge Edmunds says we are on lunch break until 1:00PM. Gerald Evelyn for Bobby Ferguson will present the last closing arguments in this trial.
The 26th annual Soul Food luncheon is seriously going on here in the Theodore Levin US Courthouse. There are throngs of people on the second floor eating absurd amounts of fried chicken, ribs, baked macaroni and cheese and yams.
The defense team in the Kwame Kilpatrick federal corruption trial, however, opted for a more low-key lunch across from the courthouse at the Gateway Deli.
One defendant was busy getting his hair cut. Bobby Ferguson and WDIV's Kevin Dietz sat next to each other getting haircuts in the Buehl building.
12:59PM And we're back. Last closing argument from the defense team will be from Gerald Evelyn for Bobby Ferguson.
Ferguson's wife Marilyn "Cookie" Johnson is apparently in the courthouse supporting her husband.
1:04PM Judge Edmunds enters the courtroom.
Evelyn approaches the podium and introduces himself.
The first thing I want to do is thank you on my behalf, my client's behalf, Mike Rataj's and Susan Van Dusen.
This trial has been a long odyssey. Going to assume that you remember testimony better than the lawyers.
There have been lots of interruptions. Thanking you not just to be polite but thanking you genuinely for being here. This is a cross-section of our city.
Have given up things to be here, leisure time and family.
You could have said you wouldn’t serve. And if you hadn't, we wouldn't have this jury.
For giving up the things you had to give up, we thank you.
Going to my opening statement, this case has been challenging. Jurors are supposed to resist external influences. There have been more external influences. The pre-trial publicity has built up over years. An imperative to pre-judge this case. An imperative that says you should come to a pre-determined verdict.
It's almost a drumbeat that says pre-judgment.
These are some of the top lawyers.
Seemingly endless flow of witnesses and documents, it can seem difficult to do your job as jurors even if the result is an unpopular result.
Mike and I talked about it a while back and he reminded me of a book. "Profiles in Courage" written by John F. Kennedy in 1957 when he was in hospital for back surgery. Talked about 8 senators who had courage to do the right thing despite the effects would be deleterious for them.
It's hard to do what's right when there is an imperative to do something else.
Each one of you made a promise to stand up and make a decision on the evidence of law. We trusted that promise at the beginning of trial, we trust it now.
The 12 of you in this case will be in it together. Even the people who don't agree with you.
There's a play called "Twelve Angry Men." One juror asking another not to throw view aside for convenience.
The government in this case has brought in witnesses that have been able to benefit from the extraordinary power they have and the pressure they can put on people. In this case, they have used that pressure. To get people to testify. But more than that, the government and media have demonized Mr. Kilpatrick and by extension my client Ferguson.
This demonization has made Kwame Kilpatrick. People don't want to be seen as helping Kwame and by extension Bobby and by extension Bernard.
In addition, certain witnesses actually rely on government for their business. Lakeshore, Akinwusi, Mr. Soave and that affects how they testify. Every witness took an oath to tell the truth. That oath is not a magic wand. It does not guarantee that you will not hear lies. Because you did.
Your obligation is to decide who is telling the truth.
The charges in this case have been detailed to you. Allegations that are not in the indictment in a formal way.
I want to turn to a count or allegation. Early on, you heard from Officer Michael Fountain. I think you can decide this allegation using common sense. Mr. Kilpatrick and Mr. Ferguson are so polarizing that they produce agendas. Fountain had the temerity to tell you he was a police officer for 20 something years and told you that Ferguson threatened his life, his wife's and children's. And he does this in the police department in front of 2 EPU officers. How plausible is that?
It doesn't hold any water. Remember some of the features. Ferguson said it wasn't on his property and wanted charges dismissed. When I asked him who was registered as tax payer. And he said, I don't know.
In grand jury, he claims that Officer Martin speaks to him and says that he should drop tickets without threatening him.
He was Officer Martin's training officer.
That doesn't stand up for number of reasons. He was asked about discrepancy by Agent Beeckman. He says well that's not my story. I was misquoted. These were his own words to the grand jury.
As my associate Mr. Higby said, that's like being misquoted in your auto-biography.
He talks about Officer Sessions who didn't become EPU until 2006 when this situation happened in 2001.
When confronted with the discrepancy, he gave an answer that made no sense. He said, that's what you said, pointing to me.
Let's talk about some of the contracts. First, 2012 which was consequence of a pilot project. Mr. Pratap testified about DLZ in 2012 pilot project. He said he had contact with engineers at DWSD. He claimed he was the inventor of the CM project. Said he sold the idea directly to Victor Mercado.
Also said that he hand-picked 2 black companies: Hayes and Ferguson Enterprises.
He's on 1347 and contract comes under schedule so 2012 happens.
There's no one piece of paper that will help you decide this case.
Evelyn puts up a document followed by a DLZ letter that lays out subcontracts under contract and who they will be assigned to including Hayes and Ferguson Enterprises.
Memo from Victor Mercado to Audrey Jackson in 2004. Describes combined cost being $3,805,000. Talks about Hayes and FEI being Detroit-based and minority businesses.
This was not a product of corruption. But because of successful performance on the pilot project.
2014 and 2015 sibling contracts. Joint venture won both contracts. Daryl Latimer and Dan Edwards testified that previously, DWSD could award both contracts to same contractor. After Kwame came into office, that stopped.
If there is a Kilpatrick Enterprise, why would he change that policy? Mercado was a very good director.
There was concern about DLZ being a properly certified business. Latimer testified that DWSD was headquartered in Ohio. So this concern began within DWSD.
Looking at letter from May 5th 2006 from Daryl Latimer. Letter says that DWSD, not mayor's office, needs proof of certification for headquarter.
Memo from May 2006, to Kim Harris of Human Rights. DWSD has started an investigation into certification of DLZ.
Latimer testified that his belief was that they were headquartered in Ohio.
Let's talk about the work on 2014. I want to highlight these things and draw your attention.
2014. The government has maintained that E & T was a proxy for Ferguson. I was insulted when I heard that term. You heard testimony from Theo Simmons with E & T. He testified that it is not a proxy.
Their families knew each other, Theo and Eric Simmons and Ferguson. They were mentored by Ferguson.
It's not like Mr. Soave concocted with Charlie Williams.
One of the important things for Ferguson is this belief that minority fronts were bad for the city. Remember Odell Jones. How the money gets passed through and keeps the rest of the money.
In this situation, it's a good example of how a company is mentored. They had 2 trucks but had a real company. Ferguson approached them about the 8 mile job. They were kind of reluctant because they were a small company. They hired more employees and got equipment.
I asked him how he felt when he finished the project and he said it felt good.
Mentoring is not having a company on your bid as if they're real. With no employees or equipment. That's trickery.
You remember that Ferguson helped them further with giving them building on Military.
So it's really an insult to him after all that work to call him a proxy.
The government wants to criminalize their relationships. Because that's what they need to do to convince you there is racketeering.
Simmons told you that on 214, they never saw A & H until Fox Creek.
You heard from Lewis McVay. Tom Hardiman wasn't even out there. He talked about what has to be done to secure water mains. The government tried to misuse the text message where Ferguson was supposedly laughing at Mr. Hayes.
Mr. McVay tells you what happened with flooding out on a Saturday. Asked him if A & H was out there. He said that someone was identified to him as an owner.
When this event occurs, who would get summoned? Bobby Ferguson. They get someone who has a real company, with real employees and equipment and has real expertise.
Let's talk for a moment about Tom Hardiman. He was the one who told you about "$5 million. $10 million."
When he was first interviewed by government, I believe in 2006, he raised campaign money for Kilpatrick and he got no special favors. No discussion about being extorted. Time moves forward, and now this normal relationship is transformed into something not normal.
As relationship evolves, he and Bobby become good friends. He said they shared values- believed in values. That is inconsistent with someone who is the victim of extortion.
His partner Avinash Rachmale. Also said that before 1361, they never did work for the city. When there was a problem with their Lakeshore problem, they sent for Ferguson to fix it.
That is another example of someone who takes and oath and doesn't tell the truth. Dilip Patel. That email I showed you where Hardiman is commenting on a decision by Patel not to pay someone. Against that entire backdrop, that man told the stand and said he didn't work for Lakeshore. He even said he doesn't remember how he got an office. He's a partner in a real estate company with Patel's wife.
Mr. Patel is a supervisor with Building and Safety. Patel is leaving his supervisor job by day and punching in to Lakeshore at night. That is conflict of interest.
Rachmale's company writes letter claiming that Patel doesn't work for him.
When I pressed that, he said well I didn't tell the government because I didn't want Patel to get in trouble.
Now let's talk about the $5 million and $10 million contract. Money under 1325 from Archer administration was running out.
Memo from Gary Fujita in July 2002. First paragraph talks about scope of services. This was 1387.
More documents discussing scoring problems. Really struggling with Evelyn's preponderance of exhibits.
So if Ferguson pulled the plug on it, he was pulling the plug on himself.
Let's go to 865, the outfalls contract. More exhibits.
Not keeping up with all the exhibits.
More numbers from the outfalls contract. From the time thy claim they were kicked off, they continued to bill. They were never kicked off.
Lakeshore uses Ferguson to win the outfalls contract. This is a contract where they said Ferguson was paid to do nothing.
Lakeshore makes a side deal with Lanzon's company DCG. After contract is awarded, Lanzo forms DCG. Lanzo does lining work, Ferguson is a dirt guy. Ferguson is supposed to do 36% and do all the digging. after the awarding, Hardiman makes a side deal with Lanzo to elbow Ferguson out.
Ferguson not standing for it. There is a discussion to get him out out of it.
Hardiman says that Angelo offers Ferguson $300,000. Ferguson says I'll make $10 million so he rejected the payout.
Much is made out of the $1.7 million paid to Ferguson. They have set a schedule- Ferguson is getting paid as Lanzo gets paid.
Looking at portion of bid proposal on the outfalls. Ferguson is Detroit-based and should be getting 36% of the contract.
Lanzo not Detroit-based or headquartered.
Ferguson's company has 20 employees proposed and the percentages used to win the contract. Further in proposal about company's background.
Details of Lakeshore's revenues from DWSD. Total contract amount for outfalls was almost $44 million. Ferguson was supposed to get 36% so you can see why DCG wanted to push him out.
DCG wasn't on the original bid. Lanzo knew they'd get more work by pushing him out.
Now let's talk about 1368. The Inland contract where Ferguson was supposedly forced in by Kwame.
This is Soave's $50 million contract. Soave under cross admits he is a multi-billionaire and doesn't even know how many companies he owns. He is a fortune 500 company. Rataj suggested he was worth $2 billion and he said no that's what he grossed annually.
Kwame is a newly elected mayor. Saove is one of the most important businessmen in the state. He supported Kwame's opponent. The first meeting he had was right after Kwame got elected. Who called that meeting. Kilpatrick went to him and said I want to extend the olive branch. He sits down and says that he wants to basically win him over. Talks to Soave and said you supported my opponent but I want to establish a relationship.
He's got the upper-hand, he's the billionaire. Kwame is a 31 year-old new mayor.
Soave says that after talking to some of his employees about 1368, he talks to Kwame about that and other things. So he goes there and this man is going to offer him an ultimatum.
Does that make any sense?
What did Soave say? When questioned by Rataj, said he wanted a good relationship with mayor in the town he works in.
He says that Kwame may have implied to use Ferguson.
Why is that important? Under oath, he says I think he may have implied it. Different from grand jury which is private. Testimony is public and is going to be in the media.
Rataj questioned him further and he said other things. Kwame never told him that he had to use Ferguson.
Fear of economic harm. This man who grosses billions annually is going to get crushed financially.
In one sequence of events, he said that Ferguson wanted a joint venture and he said he told him to eff himself. That's the real guy.
He does business all over the country and has relationships with politicians. All cities have favorite contractors and none of them have allegations of corruption.
1368 was never held up.
Charlie Williams, the subcontractor Soave wanted to use, did not have employees or equipment.
Ferguson had millions of dollars worth of equipment. Mr. Zervos testified that he bonded and insured him and never once had a complaint. He said that's special.
People try to get advantages all kinds of ways. Never happened once to him and he is supposed to be a crook.
Looking at document relating 1325 and 1368. Made sense that inland should get this contract. Not Lakeshore.
Latimer testified that contracts usually processed in 18 months.
Let's talk about the sinkhole. This was also never held up.
My colleague Mr. Thomas was able to get Bernard Parker III to say "wow" when confronted with the real story.
There were no interruptions on 1368. They were getting paid twice a month sometimes.
Now on to contract 864. No testimony on 864. Not a single witness on it.
On to Bernard Parker. Recall that I questioned under cross. He is tethered to the government. He acknowledged that he lied in this case on this witness stand, he said he would lie to suit his purpose.
Does that mean that you can trust what he tells you? It means I will lie when it suits my purpose. You certainly can't trust it.
If Bernard Parker comes and says there's a fire, I'll watch your stuff; you'd better watch your stuff.
He has to make a choice about whether he lied to the jury or lied to his boss. He thinks for a second and says I lied to my boss.
He worked for everyone: Walbridge, Ferguson.
He made a lot of mistakes. After he leaves, he says he wants to make his first client Bobby Ferguson. After this parade of lies he told.
Let's turn to 748, Baby Creek.
2:22PM Judge Calls for a 20 minute break.
2:46PM Judge Edmunds re-enters the courtroom. Court back in session.
Evelyn back at podium.
Let's talk about 748, Baby creek and Patton Park.
Government relies on Bernard Parker of all people. The bid opening was delayed due to a patent infringement.
Bid opening date was originally scheduled for October 31st. But postponed to February 6th 2003 because of a patent infringement claim.
Looking at special administrative order for the awarding of PC 748. Also asserts delay due to a patent infringement claim.
This notion of a climate of fear as articulated by Bernard Parker. Walbridge won this job and they were hardly afraid of the city.
Equalization scores put Walbridge in first place. In last paragraph, Walbridge VP Ron Hausmann says that the administrators are way over their heads with the contracts.
Next page of the exhibit, is email from Bernard Parker on February 12th. Says he spoke with Dan Edwards of DWSD and says that the city lawyers have advised Audrey Jackson, city Purchasing director, in favor of Walbridge and she concurred. So Parker had direct information from city administration. Looking at Walbridge document with 3 separate subjects for bid. There is sewer work. WPM has no entry in far right column.
Now looking at handwritten agreement with Ferguson and Wlabridge on February 14th 2003, exactly a decade ago to the day. Said they would work with Ferguson if they got the contract.
There was nothing unusual about this contract and this awarding. Odell Jones testified that it was a competitive bid and Ferguson won it. He was selected without any shenanigans whatsoever.
Now let's talk about the 3D State Arts Grant. Bullotta showed you pictures and said that Ferguson through fraud got the grant and got himself a presidential-style office. He was renovating the office for his own use and for work training.
The government's own exhibits demonstrate that. Photocopies of each of the checks. One for $37,000 to interior design company. Some of the renovations were from 3D funds and others from Ferguson's funds because they were split.
Look at series of invoice more than $19,000 paid by Ferguson Enterprises. Only a portion paid to Airtec. Marilyn Ferguson sent the information to the state. Letter was sent by the state. They tell her that the reason they terminated the grant was because of the house on Meyers St and that she hadn't used $32,000. This entire thing was transparent and they used this transparency against her. How could the state say that part of the reason they terminated the grant because she didn't spend everything she had?
Witness testimony related to gaming commission. This relates to portion of trial where 3 sisters testified to being told by Bobby to sign checks to Kilpatrick for Mayor so that there could be multiple donations made.
Talking about Derrick Miller. At one point he is asked and says that Ferguson was exceeding limits on demolition contracts. That Ferguson was being favored by the administration.
Journal from City Council showed that there were 10 contractors who got demolition contracts. All 10 contractors had extensions granted. there were more houses to be demolished. Ferguson's company was in the middle, didn't get the most or the least.
There were 9 other contractors in same situation not charged with racketeering. Another allegation offered up for racketeering is the Heilmann Recreation Center. Remeber that Akinusi said he was first interviewed in September about his so-called claims. He basically suggests that Xcel got the contract that was rigged. That Xcel was unqualified and did no work at all. I taxed the judge's patience by showing you all the documents that showed how much work Xcel did.
Akinwusi had an ax to grind. Akinwusi's company JOA had majority interest in the project. Mike Woodhouse takes over the project.
Remember that Akinwusi when I questioned him said that he got involved in this project because Woodhouse approached him.
Akinwusi and Woodhouse company's are African-American as are architects SDG that they worked with.
Looking at bid proposal that Tyrone Clifton said he wrote. DBA does not intend to award contracts based on this alone.
It was RFP but not sole basis for awarding the contract. I want to talk a little about money. Money, cashier's checks. The government are unable to connect in this racketerring enterprise that Ferguson is stealing money from the city.
Kwame and Ferguson are friends. And you know what? That is not a crime. To have a friend who is the mayor.
There is nothing that connects money that Ferguson legally earned to Kilpatrick. They showed you pictures of money seized in 2009 and 2010. They claimed that this money, before then he was giving to this man. Points to Kwame.
See this man earned every dime and paid taxes on it. There are transaction records on it. He bought equipment. He paid employees. He bought bonds and insurance. We heard that sometimes Ferguson bought enhancements for his equipment to work better. You don't do that if you're cheater.
They're trying to pull the wool over your eyes!!! Don't let that happen. Most of it was not in cash. Big piles of cash are sexy.
He kept getting run out of banks. In the house where money was seized, there were 5 cashier checks for more than $500,000. they run you out of the bank. What are you going to do with your money?
It is not illegal to possess cash. the fact that he had that money is not evidence of illegal activity at all. Super Bowl tickets. Told Kwame the combination to his safe at the hotel to get the money for the tickets. Not the same thing as safe in townhouse. Kwame never even got money for tickets.
Thomas with Sauer got him to says they couldn't correlate money from Ferguson to Kwame. They did everything they could to link this. There was no link. I'm not going to belabor Mahlon Clift. Thomas did a good job with that.
Looking at Atheneum records for Mahlon clift. aside from what Thomas so clearly pointed out to it, Clift was clear in his story.
Records clearly show that if Clift met with Ferguson at the Atheneum in the fall and not June. In October, he supposedly went and gave the $40,000. That date doesn't exists. So if he wasn't there, how could you find it occurred. I was always at the Atheneum or with a girlfriend in Detroit said Clift. Were you with your girlfriend? No, I was at the Atheneum said Clift.
Looking at Soave Enterprises $2.5 billion in 2008. Lakeshore made quarter of a million in 2007. These are the victims.
Ferguson was supposed to be involved in extorting 9 contracts. Edwards testified that there are 40 to 60 contracts outstanding at any given time. Only 9 of them are supposed to be hijacked by my client. Ask yourself if that's logical. "Government is criminally incompetent to make that allegation."
They claim that he put the money in the Civic Fund to give to Kwame. Why would he put it in the Civic Fund instead of giving it to him? Why would the $75,000 be anything but a contribution?
The allegation is that Walbridge refused to add Ferguson to their team and they lost $140 million contract. so if you bid a contract and lost it, it had to be because of Bobby Ferguson. we have to rely on the esteemed Mr. Parker for that. there is no evidence for that.
Looking at email from Hausmann of Walbridge to CEO John Rakolta in January 2007. Saying they reached out to Ferguson.
Another internal email, from Scott Penrod. Looking to push back a week. Email from Bernard Parker in 2007. Shows they got it pushed back wothout Ferguson.
Who wins 755? Lakeshore. Shows contract value is for more than $157 million. I guess Bobby didn't have any pull.
I'm almost tired. you are getting tired. I am too. this is the last time I will have a chance to address you on this case. Prosecutor goes first and last. Defense lawyers always sick about that even though that's the way it should be.
Wanted to address the things are important. when Mr. Chutkow gets up here tomorrow. he will probably raise some questions. Good lawyer that he is, he will probably raise things I didn't say. In the jury room, you'll have to answer for me. Evelyn would have said this. Based on the evidence, Bobby is a tough-minded, sometimes coarse, active person because that's how he succeeded in business. Believe me this case is important to him so he's engaged. He's tough minded and has learned hard knocks the hard way. He has succeeded not like victims in this case.
It's true that people in that business are hard driving and aggressive. Angelo D'Alessandro who tries to drive him off the contract.
Bobby Ferguson is a real company. Real employees. Real equipment. He followed admonition of his father to never be a pass-through. It can be much more expensive and cause problems to not be a pass-through, like Charlie Williams. That's why they want a pass-through for money. For me it's emotional because it's like civil movement.
Motor City Make over according to Derrick Miller saved city millions of dollars. Guy from CAT said he loaned equipment because he knew that he'd bring it back.
The man didn't believe in a free ride. Does he look like a no work person? Government says he belonged to criminal organization that never existed. Rise up to the challenge we asked you to embrace at the beginning. If you feel pressure and find it difficult, remember the MLK sermon- the ultimate measure of man and woman is not where they stand in moments of comforts and convenience but where they stand in moments of controversy. I challenge you to do what's right and find my client not guilty. Evelyn extremely emotional as he quoted MLK and ended. Quivery voice and all. Kwame actually wiped away tears at the conclusion of Evelyn's arguments.
3:35PM Judge thanks jury. Tells them to rest up and hopefully we will get through government rebuttal by US Attorney Mark chutkow by lunch time.
Special Coverage: Kilpatrick on Trial
The Kilpatricks and Ferguson are charged with running a criminal enterprise out of city hall by rigging contracts, accepting bribes and shaking down businesses.
Kwame Kilpatrick's attorney urged jurors Tuesday to acquit him on all 30 charges.
James Thomas says his client saved money and regularly received cash gifts, not bribes, from city employees and political supporters.The 26th annual Soul Food luncheon is seriously going on here in the Theodore Levin US Courthouse. There are throngs of people on the second floor eating absurd amounts of fried chicken, ribs, baked macaroni and cheese and yams.The defense team in the Kwame Kilpatrick federal corruption trial, however, opted for a more low-key lunch across from the courthouse at the Gateway Deli
One defendant was busy getting his hair cut. Bobby Ferguson and WDIV's Kevin Dietz sat next to each other getting haircuts in the Buehl building.