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.
8:57AM Video turns on and for some reason Judge Nancy Edmunds is already in the courtroom. Kwame and Bernard Kilpatrick are both seated at the defendants' table but no sighing of Bobby Ferguson yet. Counsel that is present in the courtroom heads over to the judge's bench for a sidebar.
On Tuesday, prosecution wrapped up its case with a series of texts and audio with FBI special agent Bob Beeckman on the stand. Today, the defense will finish up its cross examination of Beeckman before heading to the defense witness.
9:05AM Judge discussing evidenciary issue about admissibility of checks through Rowena Schuch. Judge saying now she thinks they are admissible but still believes they were not admissible through Schuch. Prosecution will make admissible through EPA agent Carol Paszkiewicz. Ferguson's lawyer Mike Rataj objects. Wasn't the right witness for them.
"I think it opens up Pandora's box, judge," says Rataj. Says it's unfair to take one check and put it into evidence. The other issue is that now they need to see every check. Seems there were more than 400.
Judge says that Rataj pointed out to Schuch that many of the checks to cash were to rebut a contention of buying truck parts. Judge says that if the EPA agent can establish foundation for the checks, they are admissible.
Rataj continues that there is no question as a defense team they stipulate the authenticity of records. They challenge on evidenciary basis.
US Attorney Mark Chutkow adds that Paszkiewicz conducted the search and found the checks on Ferguson's desk.
9:12AM Jury called in.
FBI agent Bob Beeckman back on the stand. Mike Rataj cross examines.
Going through text messages from Tuesday.
Text dated March 20 2003 between Kwame and Bobby. Had to do with Club Rain. Being built by Matt Flynn. Private job.
Ferguson: Club Rain. The white boy thinks he is slick....
Text between Kwame and Bobby on the same date about Jim Jenkins.
Bobby: What up Black. you see the business second today Jim Jenkins front page about the casino might get kicked off....
Rataj saying this was another private job.
Text from September 6th 2002 between Kwame and Bobby.
Mentions a guy by the name of Bob Thompson, principal of Thompson McCully. Thompson using his own money on the project but ended up hiring company from Lansing that hired the other contractors.
Rataj says that Thompson McCully could have hired whoever they wanted as it was a private job.
Another text from March 31st 2003.
Between Ferguson and his assistant. Discussing getting hockey tickets. nothing in the text message to indicate that Kwame and Bobby were together for the game. Text indicates in the text that bobby was going with George Jackson of the Detroit Economic Development Cop.
Text on April 16th 2003 between Kwame and Christine Beatty.
About Detroit Police headquarters. Rataj says it never materialized under Kilpatrick administration. True says Beeckman. Ratak says only happening now under Bing. Right says Beeckman.
Looking at chart that agent Paszkiewicz put up on Ferguson's contracts under the Kilpatrick administration. Discussing the Book Cadillac renovation contract. Rataj saying that Kimberly Clark was involved at one point but is not on the chart. Beeckman agrees.
Rataj says that the original developer was Kimberly Clark followed by another contractor before Marous became general manger of the contract. Rataj says this is not accurately reflected on the chart.