Jury given instructions, closing arguments under way in Kilpatrick corruption trial
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.
And the end is finally here for the Kwame Kilpatrick federal corruption trial. We will begin this morning with Judge Nancy Edmunds's instructions to the jury. That should take the better part of the morning and then this afternoon we will begin with the government's closing arguments and possibly one of the defendant's closing arguments. We anticipate the closing arguments and government rebuttal should take us through to Wednesday.
Defendants Kwame Kilpatrick, Bernard Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson are seated at the defendant's table engaged in heated conversation.
I wouldn't doubt that the defendants are tightly wound this morning. Kwame took to twitter on Friday and cryptically wrote:
I've heard the saying "They can control your body but not your mind." That's still too much damn control for any man to have. #stateproperty
9:09AM Counsel all enters courtroom together, likely from judge's chambers.
9:13AM Judge Nancy Edmunds enters the courtroom.
Jury enters and she discusses structural matters. Says one of the counts of the indictment, count 39, which involved 2007 tax charge against Bernard Kilpatrick has been dismissed. Says that the schedule over the next few days is changed because they don't want to break up the arguments in the middle of the arguments, so there may be early lunches or breaks at odd times.
Also wants to mention that at closing arguments, that the government because they have burden of proof, they have first and last word. They get first closing argument and then rebuttal at the end.
Judge tells them "you have been an extraordinary jury" and that we haven't lost a day over the last five months with anyone sick. "so conscientious and attentive" through difficult weather.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the hard work you've put in."
Says when she tells people that she has had 16 jurors who have hung in no one can believe it.
Now jury instructions. All jurors have instructions. Last part will have to do with manner of deliberations.
Judge mentions she was a law clerk in the mid-70s and there were no jury instructions then. But as procedures became more complex, they started handing out jury instructions. Says there are still judges in this court who don't give written instructions. She finds it helpful to follow along.
"So, members of the jury, now it is time for me to instruct you in the law in this case," says Edmunds.
Asks them to listen carefully. 2 main duties as jurors. First, deciding what the facts are. That is their job and not the judge's. Second duty, is to take law and apply it to the facts and it is her job to instruct them about the law.
All instructions are important and should be considered together.
As you know, defendants have pleaded not guilty to charges in the indictment. The defendants start the trial with a clean slate and no evidence against them and the law presumes they are innocent. This presumption of innocence stays with them. Defendants have no need to prove they are innocent- up to government to prove them guilty. Must find them innocent unless they find proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Reasonable doubt is based on reason and common sense. Proof which is so convincing that you would not hesitate to act on it in your own life.
If you are convinced, return guilty verdict, if not, must be a not guilty verdict.
Do not let rumors or anything from outside the court influence your decision in any way. Lawyers statements are not evidence, judge's rulings and questions and comments are not evidence. During the trial, judge ruled they could not hear all answers or see all exhibits or struck things from the record. Cannot consider any of these things. Cannot let them influence decision in any way.
You should use common sense in weighing the evidence. If your experience leads you to a certain conclusion, you are free to reach that conclusion.
You have heard terms direct and circumstantial evidence. Direct is eyewitness testimony like a witness saying he saw it raining outside. Circumstantial is chain of circumstances leading to a fact. Your job to decide how much weight to give either type of evidence. Consider all the evidence and give it weight you believe it deserves.
Another part of job is to decide how credible the witnesses were. Free to believe everything a witness said, part of it or none at all. Ask if witness could clearly see or hear the events. How good the memory seemed to be or if anything else interfered with ability to remember events,. Did witness appear honest or to be lying. Relationship to government or defendants. Any possible witness bias or inconsistent testimony should also be considered. If witness was inconsistent, does this make testimony less believable. Was it honest mistake or deliberate. How believable was witness testimony in light of all other evidence. Was it contradicted by other evidence. Two honest people who witnessed the same events may not see it the same way.
One more point on witnesses, sometime jurors wonder if number of witnesses should be important. Concentrate on credibility and not the numbers.
Last thing, lawyers' objections. Those are there to allow for a fair trial. Rulings based on evidence and not on feelings on the case.
9:33AM That concludes duties of jurors. Wants to emphasize that defendants are only on trial for charges in the indictment. Whether anyone else should be prosecuted, is not to be considered. Job is to consider if the government has proven the defendants guilty.
Number of charges is no evidence of guilt and should not influence decision in any way. Must separately consider for every defendant. For each one, must consider that government has proven guilt beyond reasonable doubt. With the exception of count 1, should not be influenced.
Dates- indictment charges crimes happened on certain dates. Government must prove crimes happened reasonably close to those dates.
A defendant's state of mind can be proved indirectly. Consider the natural and probable results of actions that the defendant did or did not do.
May recall be instructed at beginning of case of duties as a juror, any opinions on this case may not enter deliberations. Decision must solely be based on evidence.
Moving on to crimes.
Counts 2-5, 7-10 and 15.
Counts through 2 to 4 each charge Kwame and Bobby with extortion through wrongful fear of economic harm and color of official right. To find a defendant of extortions charges, government must prove only one of these types of extortion. Government needn't show both types.
Count 2- sewer lining contract, count 3 amendment to sewer lining, count 4 baby creek and pattn park. Unable to keep up with the other counts.
To find Kwame and Bobby guilty of counts 2-4 and 7-10. Government must prove that the defendant or a person he aided and abetted, wrongfully obtained money from other persons. Second, that the defendant did so through extortion. Third, that person gave money or property because of extortion.
Extortion under color of official right is when person receives money or property that public official is not entitled to. Government doesn't have to prove that the public official suggested giving money or property. Act of giving money or property could happen after official action expected.
Government doesn't have to prove particular act. Question is if official obtained money through implicit or explicit promises to use influence for money or property.
Extortion through wrongful fear of economic harm. Wrongful because it is improper. Fear is for ability to keep work or get future work. For there to be fear of economic harm, must find that fear was reasonable under circumstances.
9:45AM You have heard testimony of witnesses for fear of economic harm. Can weigh the relationship between the witness and defendants. The parties had agreed that interstate commerce was effective for purposes of this instructions.
Defendants name in extortion counts are charged with aiding and abetting each other. This has to do with Kwame and Bobby.
To find the defendants guilty of aiding and abetting, must be convinced that crime of extortion was committed, the defendant helped commit the crime and intended to do so.
The crime of extortion under color of official right for Bobby Ferguson requires Kwame Kilpatrick because it requires involvement of public official. Extortion through fear for Bobby does not require Kwame.
Evidence must prove that defendant did something to encourage crime.
Count 5 refers to Oakwood pump station.
Count 15 has to do with Bernard Kilpatrick trying to extort on the sludge contract.
To find guilt of extortion on those counts, government must have proved that defendant wanted to commit crime of extortion and committed an overt act to do so.
Defendants conduct must go through mere preparation and prove that defendants intended to commit crime.
9:50AM Moving on to charges in count 16 and 17. Counts 16 and 17 of the indictment charge Kwame and Bobby with bribery related to government entity.
In order to prove Kwame Kilpatrick guilty, government must prove that Kwame was mayor of the city of Detroit and second accepted to be rewarded. Thirdly, did so corruptly. Fourth, had to be more than $5,000. Fifth, had to do with assurance of assistance.
Need to consider public official's intent to be rewarded. Need not consider business of the public official's office. government need not prove that the official received a bribe or committed the act promised.
Illegal bribe may be done to influence conduct.
Finally, government must prove that the public official intended to be rewarded with $5,000 or more.
To find Bobby Ferguson guilty in counts 16 and 17. Need to consider that act of bribery was committed. Second that Ferguson helped to commit the crime. Government must prove that Ferguson did something to encourage committing crime.
Charges of mail and wire fraud, 18 through 30.
18 through 27 charge Kwame Kilpatrick with mail fraud. Judge goes through counts individually. Interestingly, 2 counts have to do with checks payable to Super Camp.
Counts 28 through 30 charge Kwame with wire fraud. Judge individually lists the counts.
To find Kwame guilty of wire and mail fraud, government must have proven that Kwame knowingly devised a scheme to defraud people. Government must prove material misrepresentation.
A scheme to defraud includes any plan whereby someone intends to take money from someone else though false pretenses. False pretense means false assertions which were made with reckless indifference to the truth. An act knowingly done is not by mistake.
To act with intent to defraud is to act with intention of deceit.
Reasonable doubt for any of the elements, must find Kwame Kilpatrick must find him not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
10:04AM Judge calls for 20 minute break.
10:27AM Judge tells jurors she knows that they may be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of instructions. Says they won't have to do this alone with their notes.
Moving to page 39, count 1, RICO charge. From 2000 to 2009, Kwame and Bobby and Bernard conspired to conduct racketeering activity. In order to convict on count 1, must prove: 1, that Kilpatrick enterprise existed. 2, the defendant was associated with enterprise. 3, knowingly participated in conduct. 4, defendant agreed to commit at least 2 acts of racketeering.
The evidence must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Kilpatrick Enterprise existed. It need not be a formal entity like a corporation. To be an enterprise must show: ongoing association of people and that the association had ongoing purpose and framework and that it is set apart from pattern of racketeering in which it engages.
May find enterprise existed without ad-hoc command. Members of group need not have had fixed roles. It must have existed to have a course of conduct; associates could engage in spurts of activity followed by period of inactivity. Not necessary that the evidence prove every allegation against the enterprise- just that it existed.
The second element to find defendant guilty is that the defendant was associated with the Kilpatrick Enterprise. A person is associated with an enterprise when he joins with other members to further the activities of the enterprise.
Third element the evidence must show beyond a reasonable doubt for conviction is that the defendant agreed to knowingly participate in conduct of the Kilpatrick Enterprise. Not necessary to show that the defendant exercised control or primary responsibility for the enterprise.
The fourth element is that the defendant agreed that he or one or more of the conspirators would intentionally commit or cause 2 or more racketeering acts and that those acts made a pattern of racketeering activity. For racketeering: defendant agreed to commit at least 2 acts of extortion, bribery, wire or male fraud, malicious threats to commit threats to extortion.
The racketeering acts had to be related to each other- that is they had similar purposes or were inter-related by distinguishing characteristics.
Racketeering activity must have extended through a period of time. A long-term association that exists for criminal purposes.
Types of racketeering charges listed are all in violation of Michigan law.
Defendants agreed that acts were committed to further the Kilpatrick Enterprise.
Government must prove that the defendant corruptly influenced a witness, they did so to influence testimony. Government not required to prove that the defendant succeeded in witness tampering.
The indictment also charges making malicious threats to extort money and bribery to extort money from a public official.
Must prove: Kwame Kilpatrick was a public official, while a Kwame Kilpatrick was an official received money and that the offer of money was made in order to receive an advantage.
Acceptance by public official of a campaign contribution is fine even if there is expectation of help in the future.
The charge in count 1 is that the defendants agreed to conduct racketeering activity through the Kilpatrick Enterprise.
Evidence need only show that the defendant knew common nature of the conspiracy. Different persons may be members of the conspiracy at different times.
10:45AM A defendant is not a member of the conspiracy just because he knew there was a conspiracy.
Moving on to the tax charges. Counts 31 through 35 charge Kwame with false returns for 1003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. Count 36 for Kwame for false tax return 2008. Counts 37 and 38 are false tax returns for Bernard Kilpatrick in 2004 and 2005.
Defendant knew information was false and return contained written declaration with penalties of perjury and that the defendant acted willfully.
To act willfully is to act intentionally. Negligent conduct is not sufficient to be willfulness.
Government must prove: 1. a substantial income tax was due 2, defendant attempted to evade tax and 3, in attempting to evade tax, defendant acted willfully.
Government must prove that Kwame intended willfully to evade tax due. The government must prove willful intent but needn't prove exact amount of tax owed.
That concludes part of instructions on elements of the crimes.
Now on to rules to consider with testimony. Defendant has absolute right not to testify- cannot be considered in deliberations. It is not up to the defendant to prove innocence.
Have heard several opinion witnesses- consider the witnesses' experience in reaching their conclusions. You alone can consider how much weight testimony deserves.
Have heard about witnesses who made have made earlier statements that differed from direct testimony in this court.
Cooperating witness testimony should be weighed with what the witness felt they stood to gain from the government.
Heard from witnesses charged with crimes in the indictment. Must weigh their testimony carefully. The fact that some witnesses have pleaded guilty should not have bearing.
During the trial, have seen counsel use summaries and charts to assist with understanding evidence. That material is not evidence and proof of any facts.
But have also seen charts and summaries that were admitted into evidence. They are not evidence of material they summarize only important as underlying material.
Transcripts of recordings are not evidence. Recordings themselves are evidence. Must rely on what was heard and not what is heard.
10:56AM That concludes jury instructions. Will take lunch break until 12:30PM.
Encourages jurors to look through their notes and take as long as they want during deliberations.
So off to lunch. When we get back, US Attorney Michael Bullotta will begin closing arguments for the government. He will take about 2 and a half hours.
12:24AM It took Judge Nancy Edmunds approximately an hour and 15 minutes this morning to go over instructions with the jurors.
We are just about to get going with closing arguments. US Attorney Michael Bullotta will take on the closing arguments, speaking for about 2 and 1/2 hours this afternoon.
The schedule for the rest of the trial will tentatively look something like this: Tuesday morning, Jim Thomas will do closing arguments for Kwame Kilpatrick. After lunch, John Shea will the deliver closing for Bernard Kilpatrick.
On Wednesday, Gerald Evelyn will deliver closing arguments for Bobby Ferguson, followed by government rebuttal by Mark Chutkow. Once the rebuttal is complete, there will be a break for lunch and jury could begin deliberations around 1pm Wednesday.
Monitors are on and the courtroom is packed. Don't think it has ever been this overflowing.
Bullotta looks set to go. Looks like he might be playing some audio/visual recordings.
Bernard Kilpatrick is at the table, but no Kwame or Bobby yet. Waiting until the very last second it would seem.
12:30PM Here come Kwame and Bobby. Everyone is in place and there is definitely an atmosphere of expectation.
Judge Edmunds comes in. "Full house," declares the judge.
Bullotta looks nervous. Our democracy depends on elected officials represent our needs and not coming into public office and turning into business.
Defendants turned office into Kilpatrick Inc, a private business machine.
Four words: no deals without me. Tells you everything about this case.
If you didn't pay, you didn't have a contract. and if you did have one, it could get cancelled.
It didn't matter if you had the lowest bid or if the mayor's office got call after call about bad service at Cobo.
It may not have cost the defendants anything, but it cost Detroiters.
Ferguson was $1.6 million higher, on Heilmann Ferguson was higher. Ferguson was paid $1.7 million for no work.
No deal without me was their mantra.
They looked to line their pockets. "I am famous now just need to get me some money," said Ferguson. "Lol. Let's get you some," said Kwame. "Us," responded Ferguson.
Why would a public servant do that. the truth is that Kwame wanted to help himself more than the people. His take home was $605,000 while he was in office but he paid out $1.4 million. He had cars, a staff on beck a call but still needed $840,000 more. And that was just what was found.
This started back in 2000 when they pushed Arts council money. Ferguson said money was going to be used for seniors and kids. Bob Murray testified he built himself a presidential office with that money, a spiral office that led to the "chilling room."
When documentation was requested, Kwame told Derrick Miller to go get with Ferguson who testified that he didn't think the money didn't exist. It didn't.
They got the first half $250,000 but didn't get the second half. The state got an altered document that they were doing work station partitions and a training area.
Looking at the invoice from Bob Murray that talks about marble molding.
Bobby Ferguson didn't just alter but made up invoices.
Airtec Corp witness testified that there was a false invoice. On the real one, customer is FEI. On fake one, it's the non-profit.
Bobby bought himself a duplex on Meyers St. Let it sit there and no one lived there. Didn't use it for seniors or youth. Witness from next door testified that he bought the house at twice the price.
Kwame made all that possible in 2000. In return, 3D wire transferred $100,000 to Carlita Kilpatrick.
Kwame talked to Edgar Vann to get a grant for $300,000. He did but the catch was to hire Carlita and pay her $75,000. Donna Williams testified they paid her half. Carlita was meant to teach school kids about non-violence. Sadly, she didn't teach a single student or provide materials.
Williams got an angry call from Kwame for declaring she had paid Carlita. Williams and Vanguard had to pay the state back.
On to the Kilpatrick Civic Fund, people in business thought they were helping a non-profit.
"We haven't used one penny, one penny of the Civic Fund in this campaign because it's not allowed by law," said Kwame in 2001 mayoral debate video.
Derrick Miller testified that they would lie about using that money because no one was going to check.
More lies were told to donors of the KCF, "no funds are donated to any political campaign." In reality, it was used to pay for polling companies. Political consultant Bob Berg was paid. all to the end of getting Kwame elected mayor.
Kwame told people it was used fro West side cubs. Heard from William Tandy about the great program. Get out the vote.
In 2000, it was used to pay for a Cadillac lease. Paid for yoga classes that even defense witness said was not appropriate. Went to spa retreats. Jim Thomas tried to suggest he went for mayoral conventions but there were no records of that. Went to the LaCosta spa with family in California and the Civic Fund bill was $8,600. That's almost the entire amount the Civic Fund gave to the West side Cubs.
Paid for his kids' preschool graduation parties for $5,000. Linda Bird, the school director said the kids were still there.
There was summer camp, golf clubs and an embroidered bag for $3,000. Also tried to use Civic Fund check to buy Manoogian Mansion furniture but Mary Fleming wouldn't take it.
As the Civic Fund was winding down, Ferguson put $75,000 in. Was he giving it to charity? Suggest he was sharing spoils to Kwame.
You heard from victims like Mary Pew who had no idea money was used for personal gain. That's where we come to mail fraud. When you use false pretenses, like telling donors you're not using money for political campaigns and use the US mail, that's mail fraud. Only difference with wire fraud is that it can be a fax between 2 different states. In this case, Michigan to Illinois.
12:50PM I said at the beginning that Kwame was using office for personal purposes. Look at his bank records. In 2000, at his account in Lansing there were no big deposits. something changes in 2002, cash starts pouring in. Cash deposits at the Chase Bank account. Look at those records, there is no spike at his birthday or Christmas. This is not salary which is direct deposited into his accounts.
Raises question where does it come from. Heard from Emma Bell, Karl Kado, miller and Jon Rutherford. Those people were not main source of cash.
No mystery why Kwame went out of his way for Ferguson contracts. That's because Ferguson was sharing spoils, profits of Kilpatrick Inc.
"The safe in the room in the closet were you hang coats. code is 101. $7,500"
Heard from Mahlon Clift who was a Kwame friend who said he took $90,000 in cash from Ferguson, flew to Chicago, put the money in his vacuum cleaner and then flew to Southlake, TX to give him half money in September 2008.
this was not a gift, these were the spoils of Kilpatrick Inc.
Emma Bell had a hard time testifying. Considered Kwame like a son. It was the hardest thing for Bell to admit that the boy she saw grow into a man , requested kickbacks from her commission. Thomas pressed her hard, and she said "there are 2 people in this room and God who know the truth."
Looking at check from August 6th 2003.
Text "Emma wants to stop in in 5 to 10 minutes max," from Dedan Milton on the same day. Bell went to see Kwame that same day to give him cash.
The kickback from Bell is under mail fraud because money was from letters send to donors who didn't know that Kwame was getting kickbacks.
Homeless shelter tycoon Jon Rutherford is on his way to federal prison. Kwame accepted money from him and all sorts of other payments. Kwame also did something else illegal- solicited cash $10,000 to buy suits in Dubai, $5,000 for Vegas trip. Kwame knew why Rutherford was happy to give him cash- he wanted a casino on the Riverfront and was willing to pay to make it happen. When a public official accepts cash like that, you know that person expects you to do something for them. That's bribery.
Heard judge talk about obstruction of justice. If you try to get someone to lie to federal grand jury, that's obstruction of justice. Ferguson was trying to secretly give $40,000 to Kilpatrick for Mayor and did that through different people, including the 3 sisters who testified. Ferguson tried to get them to lie. One sister testified that Ferguson showed up in her bedroom and told her to lie to federal investigators.
1:00PM The big money was in the DWSD. $88.3 million dollars that Ferguson got through extortion. Let's talk about Lakeshore Engineering which was a Detroit-0based, minority business that was up and coming in 2002. The only matter that really mattered to Kilpatrick Inc was green. Contract 1361, a $10 million, was won by Lakeshore fair and square. It was approved by City Council but before mayor signed off, Ferguson came requesting 25% to Tom Hardiman.
When Hardiman declined, Ferguson told him "It still has to go by the mayor's desk." Ferguson talked to his employer Avinash Rachmale and they decided with a lower offer. Ferguson said we'll see. Derrick Miller testified that DWSD head told him that Kwame had him holding the water contract.
Text "you haven't released that contract right" Ferguson texted Kwame. The contract was ultimately canceled. Lakeshore lost a $10 million contract. Another contract, 1387, was for $5 million. Hardiman in direct testimony said over and over "10 million. 5 million." as why they decided to pay Ferguson later.
Inland Waters Pollution Control got 1361 because they were working with Ferguson.
$20million outfalls contract, Lakeshore doesn't make the same mistake twice. Put Ferguson on their team. Had a meeting. Text from Ferguson to Miller "Tom is here saying the same thing you are saying and telling them no deal without me. he got smart, I am sitting here just listening."
Ferguson just sits there at the meeting as Hardiman tells sub-contractor no deal with Ferguson.
$10 million + no Ferguson= canceled
$5 million + no Ferguson= canceled
$20 million contract + Ferguson = awarded.
Lakeshore was awarded a contract. There was the change order on the contract that Ferguson wasn't even on and they ended up paying him 5% on that asbestos contract he wasn't a part of.
Rachmale said there were afraid of losing business. That's extortion and a signature move of Kilpatrick Inc.
1:10PM Talking about bogus invoices Johnson "Consultants" for $425,000. That was money Lakeshore had to be paid for nothing. $25,000 requested by Ferguson- that is scene of extortion crime right there. 2014 water mains contract. Ferguson wasn't on this contract, a $13 million contract that Lakeshore eventually got. Ferguson couldn't be on in name because he was also on the bid for same contract with DCI. West side was 2015. Ferguson told them to put Eric Simmons, his proxy on the contract.
There was major bid-rigging on that contract. No surprise, more extortion. Lakeshore had to pay $820,000 to Xcel Construction. Lakeshore didn't want to, they pushed back but they ultimately paid it.
Hardiman said they did it because Ferguson said he's get contracts stopped.
Bernard Parker III testified that when he was working with Ferguson he told him he's shut down jobs until he was paid .Look at asbestos contract, $1.7 million on 849, $820,000 for Xcel. Why would they pay that money if they weren't afraid. Hardiman said after Kwame left office Ferguson approached him to do business and Hardiman said "Let's see."
2014 was for east side and 2015 was for west. Ferguson was on 2 bids for 2014. At first, his teams were going to lose. so Victor Mercado went with a different method of calculation, the average cost method. Gears were change after bids were submitted. Afterwards, one of his teams won. Kilpatrick Inc wasn't happy with that so they took drastic measures. Kim Harris of Human Rights department said his boss came to his office and told him to pull certification for DLZ as Detroit-headquartered. He pushed back and said this is not right. Boss said, "Mayor wants it done." So he did it.
Decertified retroactively so Ferguson got his bid accepted. The cost was $1.6 million higher than decertified DLZ.
1:19PM Halfway through government closing arguments. 10 minute break.
On a mini break from the government's closing arguments. Most say this summarizing of 5 months of testimony is incredibly intense. Bullotta is clearly and systematically pulling out all the major elements of the trial. Defendants look somber. Kwame in particular looked fit to be tied when his wife Carlita was mentioned in connection with a payment of $37,500 from a non-profit for what the government alleges was no work.
Mike Rataj, Ferguson's lawyer, kept shaking his head at all mention of Ferguson extorting and bid rigging.
1:34PM Courtroom is buzzing. Bullotta makes his way to the stand. Judge Edmunds enters courtroom and calls counsel to sidebar.
Talking about Inland Waters, another Detroit-based company. We heard from Tony soave and VP Kathleen McCann. Got $50 million contract 1368 under mayor Archer but still hadn't been signed off by Kwame in 2002. soave found out that Kwame was holding on to the contract and Soave got concerned that Detroiters were going to lose their jobs.
Het met with Kilpatrick in April 2002 and asked what the hold up was. He told Soave he had the wrong sub-contractor. when Soave asked who the right one was, Kwame said Bobby Ferguson.
Soave testified that he thought that is he didn't kick out contractor Charlie Williams and take Ferguson the mayor wouldn't release the contract. Soave had former DWSD director Williams but Soave had to kick him off. McCann, clear as a bell, testified that Soave told her Williams out and Ferguson in. She described the relationship as a forced marriage arranged by the city.
It was a troubled marriage. soave testified that Ferguson wanted to be paid for work he didn't do. It got so bad that he went and asked Kwame if Ferguson was still his guy and he said yes, he was.
Sove testified in 25 years he never was told to take on a contractor. McCann felt the air was thick was threats. McCann said she took notes "because some day we would be telling this story."
How prophetic. Big sinkhole in sterling Heights emergency. Ferguson "We need to meet on how I move in. I got a great idea sir.." to Kwame amendment to the sinkhole was held up because Ferguson wasn't paid. Parker III testified that he met with Ferguson who said that the amendment wouldn't move until he got paid. Parker went straight to Kwame who said "you have to talk to Bobby," about why he wasn't signing amendment #4. Signed only after Ferguson was paid $350,000 for doing nothing. On to Walbridge Aldinger $75 million Baby Creek. Walbridge was neck and neck with a company called Walsh. Walbridge was worried. Parker III was working for Walbridge so he met with Derrick Miller who gave the "no deal without me" order. Had to put bobby on contract. Parker told Walbridge. Ron Hausmann of Walbridge and Parker and Ferguson met and Walbridge caved and wrote a handwritten contract. "Extortion is spelled out in this contract," says Bullotta.
They said if they got contract they'd give part of it to Ferguson.
Text "Walbridge is not playing ball... they need to be made believers they are not in control," texted Ferguson to Kwame. He ended up getting $13.4 million.
Walbridge lost $140 million pump station contract. They didn't want to give 30% to Ferguson- "no deal without me" was in full force. Bullotta notes how many notes jurors taking. Heilmann Rec Center- heard from Johnson Akinwusi of JOA construction. He testified that he lost contracts when Kwame came into office. Went to tailor Alebusi who told him to pay for mayor's suits- $4,800 at Fashion International. Alebusi told mayor and low and behold Akinwusi gets request for bid on contract.
Akinwusi got a visit from Ferguson employee who said they wanted 36% for Xcel. Akinwusi accepted because "no deal without me" was rampant in Detroit.
This contract was also rigged. The joint venture JOA/Xcel was ranked 4 out of 5 but they had an ace in the sleeve because Christine Beatty was Chairman of board of DBA and under her was Ayanna Benson, a Kwame relative.
On June 19th 2003, they won the bid. That day, Ferguson to Beatty: "Thank you I love you, you are for sure my sister." "What did I do?" texts back Beatty. "Benson." replies Ferguson.
LaJuan Wilkes testified the joint venture did a terrible job on the recreation center. She said Xcel didn't show up on site. She made a mistake by complaining to her boss Vincent Anwunah. Ferguson went to her boss's office and demeaned her by threatening her job. Anwunah just sat there because he knew the power of Ferguson. Heard from officer Michael Fountain who gave out environmental tickets. Ferguson was dumping trash on city property. Ferguson who was head of Motor City Makeover. Ferguson went in February 2002 and showed up in court, flanked by EPU.
1:53PM Sudden stop. Seems there is a juror issue. Taking a momentary break.
1:55PM Juror back.
Ferguson came to court flanked by 2 Detroit police officers from EPU. Bobby approached officer fountain and told him it was in his best interest to dismiss tickets. "We know you live in the city and have 2 kids." A direct threat. Officer Fountain went and told the prosecutor to dismiss tickets because he was afraid. If a police officer is afraid, don't you think Avinash Rachmale from a small village in India won't be scared too?
Talking about Marc Andre Cunningham. Syncom, his uncle's company, got $30 million investment from 2 city pension funds, and he got a commission. Once he started working for the city of Detroit, he got word he'd have to pay Bernard Kilpatrick. Why? "No deal without me."
Cunningham gave Bernard cash in the barber shop of City County. Sometimes Kwame would ask about it.
Heard from Derrick Miller who talked about different parts of case. He was Kwame's best friend since 9th grade. He was chief administrative officer in 2002. Miller had a real estate scheme with Jones Lang Lasalle where a commission would be paid with Tim Cook and he would be paid commissions. Jones Lang Lasalle needed contract with city. City was leaning towards Staubach group. Miller went to Kwame and said Jones Long Lasalle deal would be lucrative. Jones Long Lasalle got deal and Cook would pay Miller who would pay mayor. "Cool," would say mayor when he took the money.
Andrew Park who started Asian restaurant in fall of 2007. He's fallen on hard times and needed an investment from city pension funds. Kwame found out about it and told Miller see if you can get cash from Asian Village guys. Miller got $10,000 which he gave Kwame in the bathroom of Asian Village.
On to Karl Kado. Cobo Hall controlled by city of Detroit.
Kado got a $6 million annual cleaning contract and an electrical contract for $10 million. It was an exclusive contract for Metro Services. He testified that the mayor would call him and say he had to see him. He testified that meant he gave him money, often $10,000 in cash. Text from secretary, "Mr. Mayor Karl Kado missed your call just now."
Miller testified that on a couple of occasions he picked up cash for the mayor from Kado. It was not a gift, it was bribery. He also paid Bernard between$200, 000 and $300,000 including a final payment of $100,000. "Last thing for today is you have to call Lou and give OK for Carl to deal with the electrical in June." text from Bernard to Miller. Bernard is not mayor but he is telling Miller to call director of Cobo to deal with electrical contract.
Mr. Shea would like you to think that it was on the up and up and Kado hired Bernard as a consultant.
On August 30th 2005, a letter was sent to Kado that he was under federal investigation. He showed the letter to Bernard who patted him down. It's that something your consultant usually does.
Offered Kado10 more years on his contract if he didn't talk to FBI.
Kado was owed about $3 million from city on contracts. Bernard told him he wanted 10% of that money and if he didn't do it, it would get held up for years.
Talking about sludge company Synagro with hugest contract in this case, $1.1 billion over 25 years. Heard from Jame Rosendall about taking over Minergy contract with Synagro. Met mayor when he was a state rep and gave him campaign checks. Rosendall attended party in Manoogian in winter of 2004 where he took him to the basement and introduced him to Bernard and told him "This is the guy I want you to work with."
Rosendall said he figured he had to keep Bernard happy, giving him $5,000 here and there, wining and dining him. Afterward Synagro got the contract, Bernard wanted more.
"Yeah Man this is BK. I'd appreciate a call today. Vacation or no motherf-ing vacation," says Bernard on a recording. Bernard said if he didn't get paid he'd blow up the deal. Extortion 101.
Would a consultant threaten to go to the mayor to blow up a deal? Do you need to meet in the parking lot in winter so FBI doesn't listen? Do you have to give a case of Cristal champagne and $300 wrapped in a gum wrapper? Would a consultant get mad about cash payments in public?
Listen to a wire tap recording of Bernard getting mad at Rosendall. Bernard Kilpatrick was no consultant, he was an extorter. Let's review pattern of "no deal without me."
Contract 1361, no Ferguson cancelled. Amendment #4 held by mayor till Ferguson paid. 2014, DLZ decertified because they don't have Ferguson. Baby Creek, Walbridge with Ferguson, get contract. Kado owed money by city, held until Bernard paid. Extortion illegal and all these defendants guilty of that. Want to talk about count 1, the RICO conspiracy. Conspiracy is an agreement between 2 people to commit a crime. For RICO, need an enterprise, on-going association of people.
Text from Bernard to Kwame "Just met with Bobby Ferguson. The 3 of us need to meet at least twice a month for awhile."
Derrick Miller testified that he attended these meetings. For RICO, 2 of these types of crimes would have to be agreed to commit. Don't have to actually be committed, just agree to do them.
One key fact, ask yourself if Kwame was not in a conspiracy with Bobby and Bernard could they have extorted a single person. Would Lakeshore have paid $850,000? Would Rosendall have paid $300 in cash in December 2007? No. Bullotta thanks Jury. Talks about former budget director of the state, Mary Lanoy, Thomas asked her about her power as director of budget.
She thought about it and said, "I had a lot of responsibility." Kwame wanted money and power and was not interested in responsibility. He wanted opportunity.
Corruption that took us almost five months to show you. Kwame thought he was somehow above the law. With your verdict, you can show nobody is above the law. Now I ask you to find them guilty of every single count in this indictment.
2:18PM Judge dismisses jury and we'll be back with defense closing tomorrow.
About the author
Alexandra Harland is a Princeton undergrad and has a masters degree in International affairs with Columbia. A Montreal native, she worked with the Daily Telegraph newspaper for a few years before transitioning to TV, when she worked at ABC News with Peter Jennings. Alexandra has also worked in newsrooms in both Detroit and Boston.
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