End of day 2 of witness testimony: Officer Michael Fountain was the second and last witness called to testify today in the Kwame Kilpatrick federal corruption trial. Fountain testified that after citing Bobby Ferguson with environmental violations, he witnessed trash and debris being removed from Ferguson's business property and dumped onto city land in 2001. He also testified that he was intimidated by Ferguson into canceling his violation tickets after Ferguson, accompanied by 2 EPU officers, threatened Fountain's family. Earlier in the day, Kwame Kilpatrick college buddy Mahlon Clift testified about receiving $90,000 in cash from Ferguson which he then delivered to Kwame. Kilpatrick and Ferguson passed notes as they listened to the witnesses testify. Just before court adjourned,U.S. Attorney called Officer Fountain's wife Denise as the next witness. As court is in recess in observance of Yom Kippur tomorrow, Ms. Fountain will be first up to testify Thursday morning.
12:49PM Judge Edmunds adjourns court for the day. Court will not be in session tomorrow in observance of Yom Kippur. Reconvenes Thursday at 9AM.
12:44PM U.S. Attorney Mike Bullotta calls Denise Fountain. Sidebar called. Lawyers convene with judge.
12:44PM Evelyn redirects. Evelyn says wasn't your initial reaction to kick Ferguson's ass at first. Yes says Fountain. But no gudge now says Evelyn? No says Fountain. Evelyn hands documents to Fountain to read.
Fountain testimony continued. Fountain says he believes person on the backhoe was an employee. Bullotta asks if Fountain has a grudge against Bobby Ferguson. Fountain says no, just wanted property cleaned up.
12:39PM Bullotta redirects. Bullotta says from the beginning have you maintained that it was Ferguson who threatened you. Fountain says yes. Bullotta asks did you ever tell anyone that it was Mike Martin who threatened you and not Ferguson. Fountain says no. Bullotta asks when you pointed out the other officer in photos, did you say you were 100% sure. No says Fountain.
12:13PM Gerald Evelyn cross-examines. Evelyn says you've testified a lot in court. Fountain says yes. Evelyn says who do you feel you were threatened by. Ferguson says Fountain. And you told investigators in 2005 that you issued tickets. Told them that Ferguson threatened Fountain and that 2 EPU officers were with him. Fountain was Mike Martin's training officer which is how he knew him.
Evelyn asked if he said anything to Mike Martin. Fountain says they looked at each other like what's going on. Evelyn says you're on a congested 2nd floor hallway full of people. Fountain says yes it was full of people. Evelyn says in this congested hallway full of officers, Ferguson threatened you? Fountain says yes. Fountain says he picked out an officer he thought was with Ferguson, the one that wasn't Mike Martin. Evelyn says it turns out it wasn't him. Evelyn says that the trash was city property, not Bobby Ferguson. Fountain said no it was Bobby Ferguson's- 8631 and 8655 Military. These tickets were given on September 10th at 1pm. They had a proposed court date for October 10th on the tickets. Fountain went back and looked at it on 9/11 but issued tickets on 9/12. Fountain found time to drive by on 9/11. Evelyn asks weren't all officers in city of Detroit were on orange alert on 9/11 2001. Fountain says he can't remember. Evelyn asks do you know what time the Twin Towers were attacked. Fountain says sometime in the morning. Fountain testified that Ferguson is the one who threatened him. Evelyn says at grand jury Fountain testified that Officer Martin threatened him. Fountain says there was confusion about that testimony when questions were asked but Martin did not threaten him.
Evelyn asks if he recalls telling grand jury that Martin wanted to speak with him in the hallway. Fountain says he remembers being told to step in the hallway to discuss the tickets. Evelyn disagrees with Fountain saying that transcript shows that he is referring to Mike Martin as being the one who threatens him saying "he should cancel tickets for Mr. Ferguson." Fountain says it's not true that he told grand jury that Martin was threatening you. Fountain says again that Mike Martin did not threaten him and his family. Evelyn says your testimony today is that Mr. Ferguson threatened you. Fountain says I've said that all along. Fountain says that he thought his grand jury testimony was misunderstood and that the "he" Fountain was talking about was Bobby Ferguson. Evelyn asks if he gave any citations when he saw things being dumped on city property. Fountain says he didn't do anything. Evelyn says you don't stop truck or call for backup. Fountain says no. Evelyn says that's because it never happened. Yes it did says Fountain. Evelyn asks if city property in pictures was ever cleaned up. Fountain says no. Fountain says he never spoke the media. Fountain says he saw Ferguson maybe 2 or 3 times in relation to the tickets. Fountain says he talked to Officer Martin subsequently. Typically the fine for one of these tickets is $500. Evelyn says when you talked with Ferguson; you felt you were outgunned and outmanned. Yes says Fountain. In fact it was city property says Evelyn. No says Fountain it was Ferguson's property. Fountain was interviewed by agent Beckman on September 1st that had to do with whether it was Martin or Ferguson threatening him. Evelyn says you told agent Beckman that you talked to the press. Fountain says that he said "no comment" Evelyn gives Fountain a transcript of conversation with Beckman. Evelyn asks "Did you tell agent Beckman that you talked to the press and they accurately quoted you?" No says Fountain. Fountain testimony continued. Fountain says a lot of trash was moved from Ferguson's to city property. Fountain says he went by one day and he actually saw them moving debris to the city property. Fountain indicates a back hoe used to move things onto city property. Bullotta asks about when Ferguson said "Don't you know who I am?". Isn't that a way to indicate you're a bigwig. Fountain says yes. Bullotta ends.
11:33AM Government calls Officer Michael Fountain. Mike Bullotta for government. Michael Fountain is Detroit Police officer for 27 years. With the communications department as dispatcher. Worked in 10th and 12th precinct and now with communications operations. In 2001, Officer Fountain was environmental officer with 10th precinct. Worked with Officer Wendy Flanagan. Would act on citizen complaints to investigate trash issues. Concerned with people not cutting grass, not getting rid of certain things on property. During this time came to know Bobby Ferguson and a location at Military St. Ferguson Enterprises. Officer went buy took pictures of the property. Issued a report to Mr. Ferguson in 2001. Bullotta hands Fountain tickets. Fountain says they were standard "V" tickets for environmental ordinances. Bullotta introduces them as evidence. The 4 tickets are for Bobby Ferguson's company property. The first citation is for allowing litter. The second ticket for September 2001 is for allowing rat harborage, rats will set up shop and breed there. The third ticket also on September 10th 2001 for hazardous conditions- bricks, miscellaneous items. The fourth ticket was for failing to cut weeds in excess of 8 inches or more.
Returned to location on September 11th, 2001 and issued additional tickets. Again for rat harborage- 2 inoperable vehicles allowing for rat harborage. 3 inoperable vehicles that appear in state of disrepair. Ticket for a white box truck that appeared inoperable. Next ticket for red dump truck, no headlights and no plate. Came back at a later time and issued ticket for failing to cut weeds that exceeded 8 inches and another for the inoperable white vehicle. Bullotta asks if he went back to check on progress of the property, Fountain says yes. Bullotta asked if he checked on property ownership. There was property owned by Ferguson and then a parcel owned by the city of Detroit. Ferguson issued ticked for 300 cubic feet of trash. Fountain says each time he went back, some of the trash was being moved from Mr. Ferguson's property to the city property. Vehicles were also being moved to the city property.
Fountain says case went to trial. There is a courtroom dedicated to environmental tickets. Ferguson went to court in fall of 2001 on the tickets. Police officers will usually talk to people issued tickets to in an attempt to get it cleaned up. the goal of the unit was to get it cleaned up. Foungtain points to Ferguson who stands up to identify him. Fountain says they spoke in 2001 and that Ferguson was very upset he was issued the tickets. fountain said he knew nothing about knowing who he was. Ferguson said "I'm Bobby Ferguson, do you know who I am?" Fountain said no. Fountain explained that he just wanted to have it cleaned up. Ferguson said it wasn't his property. Ferguson was not amenable to clean it up. Fountain says the conversation got a little loud. Ferguson was "dressed up pretty good" and he had one of Mr. Kilpatrick's campaign buttons on. Some of the other officers came in the room because we were shouting. He left. Ferguson went back to court on this on February 8th, 2002. The media was there for the trial. Fountain was in uniform and Ferguson was not there. Fountain was summoned to the hallway were Ferguson was with 2 police officers. He knew one, Mike Martin, but noth the other. He was an EPU officer. Fountain knew him from 10th precinct. The officers were standing to the right and left of him. Fountain was puzzled by what was going on. Seeing an EPU officer you would think the mayor was there. But he wasn't.
Both officers were not in uniform. Ferguson says "It would behoove you to cancel the tickets." Fountain is pausing wondering why they want him to cancel the tickets.
Ferguson mentions Fountain's family and says "it would be in your best interest to cancel the tickets." Fountain had a young family in Detroit.
Fountain says he felt threatened. Thought about his family and wondered if it was worth it to continue. It did play on his mind that this business owner was in the protection of 2 officers. Officer Fountain canceled the tickets. Told the judge he had made a mistake. didn't think he made a mistake but feared for his family. Fountain didn't tell the judge or anyone else. "It was bigger than me" and it wasn't really worth it to risk family being hurt. The Detroit Free Press was there- Elrick and Shaefer- and asked if I wanted to comment. I said no. Officer Flanagan was not in the hallway when the conversation happened. She wanted to know why the tickets were canceled. Fountain told her he had to. Fountain says as the precinct moved locations, some of his files went missing. "For whatever reason, I kept the file" referring to the Ferguson file. Bullotta asks about Fountain's wife of 22 years, Denise. He didn't tell her about it at first because he doesn't like to take work home. But she read stuff in the media and Fountain finally told her that he didn't want the family to get hurt. Fountain also didn't tell his bosses. "It was bigger than just me getting the property cleaned up." Fountain got a call in October 2005. Met with an FBI agent who asked him about the tickets. Fountain was subpoenaed to testify to grand jury in 2009.
Bullotta introduces pictures of Ferguson's property taken by Fountain as evidence. Fountain flicks through the pictures. Fountain uses pointer to show trash and debris on Ferguson's property at the time. Lots of trash, bricks and old debris. Shows more trash and abandoned cars. Indicates the old white box truck. When I went to show if it had been cleaned up, the truck was moved to another spot on the field. Fountain says you can tell from tire marks it had been dragged there, onto city property. Private contractors are sometimes hired to clean up city debris.
11:31AM Bullotta redirects for government Clift steps down.
11:30AM Rataj redirects. Rataj says you were interviewed by Bullotta and Sauer before grand jury and you never told about the money. and then there was a break and after that you told them about the $90,000. Correct says Clift. Rataj says you have no proof you were in Detroit in July, august and September 2008. Correct says Clift.
11:27AM Thomas redirects. Thomas asks again if Clift's mother knew about money. No says Clift, still doesn't know. Thomas says you can't remember details- how many $50 bills there were. Correct says Clift. In Detroit, you couldn't describe building, floor, roof. Correct says Clift. You didn't know when it was says Thomas. Correct says Clift.
11:17AM Bullotta redirects for government. Bullotta asks did we ever tell you we were aware of the money. Clift says no and the he just wanted to tell the truth. Clift says government didn't tell you how to testify but to tell the truth. Clift says he didn't hire a lawyer but has his mother assisting him. Clift says "She is typical mother, concerned about her child." The government never told him he could be charged with a crime.
Bullotta asks if Clift ever had to fill out declaration form when flying. Clift says no.
Clift says he didn't see Kwame bank accounts in 2004.
Bullotta asks Clift to describe jeans he was wearing to carry $90,000. "They were loose" says Clift. "It was before the skinny age."
Clift says he didn't ask for a cut of the money because Kwame was a friend and he didn't think it was necessary.
Bullotta reads over grand jury testimony about conversation with Ferguson about carrying the package for "Black". Clift says it's accurate.