Several jurors fall ill in Kwame Kilpatrick trial; closing arguments postponed
Lawyer for former Detroit mayor gets his last opportunity with jury in 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.
For the first time since the Kilpatrick federal corruption trial began, Kwame Kilpatrick's family has showed up to court.
Carlita and their three boys are here today as is his sister Ayanna Kilpatrick.
His mother, Carolyn, is also there.
--Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick
Kwame took to social media today posting:
Victory Day! Blessed to have my Squad with me. Boots laced, and ready to roll. :-)
God is Good! #blessedandhighlyfavored
Yesterday, the government had the first shot across the bow with closing arguments. US Attorney Michael Bullotta gave a strong performance alleging that Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick and friend Bobby Ferguson ran "Kilpatrick Inc." and the mantra he repeated over and over was "No deal without me.
Today, Kwame's lawyer Jim Thomas will take a stab this morning at closing and this afternoon it will be John Shea for Bernard- it's an all Kilpatrick day.
9:07AM Judge Edmunds enters and mentions that some of the jurors have switched seats because some of them are not feeling well so need access to restroom.
Judge asks Thomas to let her know a good moment for a break. He says it will be about 2 and a half hours. He's got a tough job this morning to counter yesterday's impressive government performance.
9:09AM Thomas starts. Good morning. today is my chance after this long trial to tell you what I think about evidence.
Opening statement was brief and there was a reason for that. I wanted to talk about principles. I said in opening that defense would be in cross examination.
It was remarkable that witnesses would come in and testify and after cross it was a different story. Hopefully you understand and agree and each of you have been paying good attention so I thank you.
As I said then, I reiterate, you are the sole judges of the facts of the case. No one else can tell you what happen. When you go to the room and discuss the different points of view, you need to determine whether is beyond reasonable doubt.
My client wanted me to talk about all the good things he did.
"We came into this courtroom with a lot of baggage," says Thomas.
Have been demonized by the media.
When I ask a question of a witness and the witness agrees with me, that is something you can consider.
Kwame Kilpatrick is a human being. He is presumed to be innocent. He is a father, a son. He's a man.
I want to say it for the record. We presented some evidence and hopefully it shed some light on this case.
A lot of this case is built on the credibility of witnesses. You know what it is you look for to determine if a person is telling the truth.
We have seen argumentative witnesses, witnesses who don't answers questions or spin it sideways. This is what you use to determine whether they are a truthful person.
I'm going to start with the State Arts grant. It seemed to be a bit of an overkill. It was funded when Governor Engler wanted his budget passed so he allocated money throughout the state of Michigan.
Kwame was democratic leader of the house. When I talked about politics like sausage, it's not pretty, it's a fact of life.
I'm going to say a lot of bad things about Derrick Miller. He said that it was never intended that Carlita was going to participate as a contractor in those grants. That it was after she was approached for the grant. miller was important to Carlita. He had nice things to says about her and the school. That she was helpful and that peer mediation and conflict resolution is useful.
Yes, Sherrard School did not work out. Yes, Carlita got paid first half. Thought when Donna Williams was testifying there was smugness in downplaying Carlita. She acknowledged that Carlita was at meetings. She said different things in the grand jury.
Carlita put an honest effort in and went to meetings. she was highly motivated and concerned about what was done. She made the effort.
When Carlita said she understood that the grant was reinstated, Williams said that she thought that Carlita was trying to get more money. When someone comes in good faith, like Carlita, who said she would do it for free and then Williams said "I knew she wanted the money."
That made me wince. hope it made you wince too.
Dan DeGrow and Mary Lanoy testified that it might have been an ethical problem but it wasn't a legal one. they funded Vanguard for the second half.
there was no crime here as relates to the state grants.
Carlita couldn't buy money or food with money she earned from grants. It's expected that you draw a wage or salary. I thought there was a certain amount of smugness in that.
We're charged with racketeering offense. Everyone hears RICO and says "Oh, my gosh," what is that. My take is that the interesting part is that it takes otherwise innocent conduct, talking to a friend, making a decision to award a contract to a friend, and look the beyond conduct to a purpose.
I'm going to talk about other intentions, higher intentions borne out of cross examination.
Ferguson works out in the cold and he has to pull up sewers no one wants to be around. That's hard work. You heard that he did hard work. You heard that mostly in cross examination.
If you worked for the city of Detroit, you probably wanted someone who could do the work and do it quickly.
Kwame as special administrator had to report not just to constituents but to Judge Feikens.
In addition, we are all sensitized to contracting process in Detroit that gave equalization credits to minority and Detroit-headquartered businesses. If you were mayor of Detroit, you would want that.
Unemployment is high and there is a reason for that. The businesses that feed people have moved out of the city.
So preferences were giving to businesses that were headquartered here. They would get a leg up in the bidding businesses.
If you have people working and living here, that generates money and revenue.
So when government shows you that contractor lost bid as lowest bidder before equalization credits, that is very misleading. You may be lowest bidder but have someone else with equalization preference over you.
"There is a higher purpose that just saving money," says Thomas.
Telling story about being a swimmer in high school with Tom Ryan who became prosecutor as well. Says he watches people who are not Tom get the benefit of a reduced plea for not going to trial. So went to Tom to solve the case but didn't do it. Went to office and wrote an angry letter. think because tom knew me, he bent over backwards and because I was his friend I suffered.
you can't deny your family. You can't deny your friends. To the extent that the government wants him to treat bobby differently, that doesn't hold water.
this case is about 11 contracts, 9 DWSD contracts. Darryl Latimer said there were 40 to 60 contracts were let during Kwame's administration by the DWSD and we are talking about 9.
Climate of fear that we have been talking about. Have to subjectively says there was a fear of economic loss.
One of my observations, is that the judge has instructed about reasonableness of fear.
It sticks in my craw when a guy with $2.5 million had a fear. that doesn't stick with me. Think he is talking about Tony Soave.
Avinash Rachmale. The ING drawing showed that the bid is one of first levels. Remember my cross of Rachmale where I asked what the document said. It said that the city reserves the right to cancel a contract at any time.
If you see a contract with someone is not qualified, and there is someone else already doing the work close by, what would you as mayor do.
What if the rate price was lower for the other person, what would you do.
"% million. 10 million." for a contract they planned on but had no right to expect.
I have another equation, $8 million, $157 million. They got a letter that said look forward to bidding on the next one. They took that company from $8 million in DWSD business to $157 million. Economic victims?
They had a $12 million add on to a contract.
You can look at Tom Hardiman and see how he testifies and he was difficult under cross. The guy had an ax to grind. He made $157 million.
When Soave sat with Kwame, that was in the 4th month of his administration.
They took a look at all the contracting and said what is going on here. For Tony Soave to come in, apparently he has a lot of largess. He can sit with the mayor of Detroit and say what is going on with these contracts.
We suggest that Charlie Williams was a pass-through- no equipment, no personnel and Soave does all the work but they get the benefit of minority business but profit goes to the person in the suburbs.
Does a guy with no personnel, equipment, no real experience, is he the best guy for the job? Is it a reasonable job for the mayor to make sure it stays in Detroit and that the job gets done.
Talked about things that Kwame was doing when he met Soave. He had 48 unions that were bargaining, city services were nt working, he had more than 60 appointees that were released and had to be replaced and he was conducting a national search for head of SWSD. That's pretty much for a little guy, not so little, but a guy starting out at 31.
If you have any question of Kwame as special administrator for water contracts, you have to see what Judge Feikens said.
Remember in opening statement when Chutkow said Kwame was fired? I take position that he wasn't fired but services were no longer needed.
Feikens said: "Two key decisions" made by mayor Kilpatrick was hiring of Mercado and ING.
So DWSD is in position to continue being in compliance. This doesn't sound like someone being fired.
Somebody who the judge had questions about? Or someone the judge lauded for work in 2002 through 2006?
Special administrator can ignore state law and litigation. He accounts to Feikens and as such needs to please Feikens. Those equitable powers are very broad. When you consider government's assertion that Kwame did anything inappropriate, it was approved by the judge at every state.
Water and sewage rates reported to be lowest in the nation.
Want to talk about something else. Kwame has been criticized for communication with Bobby. There are the text messages. We don't have text messages from Soave or John Rakolta of Walbridge.
Want to talk about the difference between politics and contracting.
Don't have benefit of Rakolta text messages. Or text messages regarding Soave. You can imagine these guys would feel free to tell mayor how they thought.
You saw meetings in calendar with black contractors, didn't just meet with Bobby. But because of the text messages, we see what we see.
"Some of it is embarrassing. Some of it not well thought out. Government has tremendous power."
We have had discussions about what "cool" means. I did Cyrano de Bergerac think with you and talked abo0ut inflections with words. FBI special agent Bob Beeckman talked about text meanings.
Dont' know if you remember SNL Rob Snyder how he could say "dude" many different ways.
I call filling in the blanks speculation. Words without surveillance or knowing what happened afterwards, you have to decide if that satisfies government's heavy burden.
When government talks about climate of fear, you have to know that everyone worries if they will make payroll every week. Maybe not Tony soave.
Recognize there are 7 or 8 people who bid on a contract. With climate of fear, you have to look closely at 7 people who have lost. that is same feeling and it is not necessarily a crime.
Kim Harris from Human Rights department talked about it's deceased boss Gerard Grant Phillips. You heard hearsay testimony that his dead boss told him to decertify DLZ. There was evidence that DLZ was not Detroit headquartered or based business. also certain that they didn't satisfy Detroit residence requirement. Harris's position on this was on something that he heard from his boss that "Kwame said to do it."
Dead supervisor is not here and subject to cross examination. Harris took position that there was no decertification process.
There was a decertification that was requested.
We know about contracting process and that some people can get a benefit from saying they are a minority business. For Harris to say there wasn't a decertification process for a company that was not Detroit-based, that didn't hold weight.
You heard Sharon McPhail, his boss, say that there was such a process.
I have to talk to you a little bit about amendment #4 to 1368. This is more about rumors and innuendo and the contracting process.
There was an email with Paul Meschino of Insituform about rumors that Kwame was sitting on a contract.
The email talks about reversal of amendment. Showing the email. Based on rumors and innuendo, the contract is dead and Kwame is dead.
Date of email is important: December 19th 2005.
Looking at contract amendment approval. Amendment #4 to contract 1368.
This was going to go through City Council. See the signatures of Daryl Latimer, corporation counsel. Approved on April 19th 2006.
You will see that despite rumors and innuendo that Kwame was sitting on the contract, a special administrator order was entered on December 23rd 2005, within 4 days of Meschino's email that Kwame didn't look at.
We heard any number of reasons why this contract wasn't addressed. Kwame Kilpatrick was fighting for his political life- there was a recount in the election. He wasn't certain he's be mayor in 2006.
What does he do when he knows he will be, he signs that document. It's within the same time frame that Bernard Parker III is expressing concern about sitting on the contract.
On August 12th, the processing date, it's 4 months. We know it takes much much longer to get through City Council.
A crime? Or responsible government? You decide.
10:00AM Judge says let's take a 10 minute break.
Lots of drama in the courtroom this morning. Kwame's family, including his mother Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, are all there. Apparently, Kwame's 3 boys are all falling asleep and Carlita keeps nudging them awake. They are all dressed up and making a show of support for Kwame and Bernard.
Multiple jurors seems to be sick. We took a break when we did because a juror needed to bolt for the restroom again.
10:14AM Court in session but we are missing a court reporter.
Thomas starts again. Back on 1368. The nature of the investigation and how witnesses appear in front of us. 1368 contract was shown to Bernard Parker III. He was disappointed contract didn't progress as it should and laid it at the feet of Kilpatrick.
Showed him the April 19th 2006 City Council process and the special administrative order of December 23rd 2005. Do you remember his response? It was "Wow." It was the first time that he saw it. You can imagine he saw the contract and the emails. You have to ask yourself if there was a reason for that. Parker wasn't shown the document because it didn't fit the government's theory that he sat on the contract.
That Kwame Kilpatrick wasn't being a good mayor.
We heard that "wow", that a-ha moment that proves my point. We know that agents go out and talk to people and show them documents.
Government is relying on 3 witnesses relying money issues. I want to talk about them because they are the pillars of the government's case but it is a shaky foundation: Emma Bell, Derrick miller and Karl Kado.
these are witnesses that got in trouble on their won. they had a heavy motivation to implicate Kwame. there is very little corroboration for what they say.
Emma Bell, Derrick miller and Karl Kado are bought and paid for witnesses. The currency is freedom. they came in and said what they said and I have something to say about it.
these witnesses are concerned about what's in it for me. What can I bargain for so I can get myself out of trouble? this is conduct that has borne out in their testimony.
Government has a lot of power. Talked about how there were as many as 7 lawyers and untold number of agents. this started in 2004 and has gone on for almost 10 years.
They have ability to see witnesses, bargain and exchange with their currency:" testimony against Kwame Kilpatrick.
I told you in opening statement that Emma Bell was going to cry. and she did shed crocodile tears. I think it was feigned for sympathy and that she is a tough cookie.
Emma Bell's problem was that she hadn't paid taxes in 20 years. she was able to hide money she was making. 10% of the money she was making. she was getting paid very well. she was a person that was crafty. You have to look at that to determine her credibility.
Could talk her banker into cashing checks for her to avoid IRS.
"Bought and paid for." she was facing significant jail time and was able to reduce it in exchange for what she has done here.
that motivation is what you can look at. You can determine her credibility in other ways. there is no corroboration for what she says about meeting in a private place with Kwame and exchanging money with him. Just her word. there is no corroboration for it.
Emma Bell says she gave Kwame a lot of money.
Donald Trump's got a lot of money. Kwame was paying in cash on credit cards. Banker said he didn't find that unusual. Whether it is or not, this is an instant where the government is trying to get you to sympathize.
It's an inference he got the money from Emma Bell. IRS agent Sauer said there was no correlation between Emma Bell money and Kwame cash deposits.
We know Emma Bell was a gambler and had a problem with gambling. the gambling records show that she puts in play in 2005 $170,000, $569,000 in 2006, $788,950 in 2007, $803,000 in 2008.
In 2008, she didn't report income and still lost $82,000. did she give Kwame the money or keep her money under a mattress for a rainy day and take it to the casino.
A text message between Kwame and Christine Beatty on July 29th 2003, Emma Bell has been fund-raising for awhile and giving him 50% with Kwame. any check over $5,000, she splits with her.
Text shows that he doesn't have Emma Bell's phone number.
Text from August 6th 2003.
Dedan Milton to Kwame "Emma wanted to stop in later for @ 5-10 minutes max. what should i tell her?"
There is a text that the government didn't show that sends a reply from Kwame saying "Tell her to come to Chris ofc."
Why is he sending her to Chris's office? The demonized barber chair, why isn't he putting Bell in the room with the barber chair. I'll tell you why. Because he didn't go in the room with the barber chair.
The fact that they didn't show this to you is on the government. they are trying to show you half of what is out there to be seen. That Emma Bell called but to let you assume what occurred.
"I say if it's on them, you hold it against them. i say that the way they proceeded in this investigation, hold it against them. they should not allowed to do that."
Gambling records show that Emma Bell put $2 million in play.
Even assuming that she put in her winnings, she is putting a lot of money in. My argument is that you may take $100 or $200 and play in the thousands, the fact that you put that much in play is a sign of confidence that you have money. A sign that you can cash a check and put it under the mattress.
Looking at exhibit from April 2008. It's in evidence. A compilation by Ron Sauer of what Emma Bell did with the money. Look at April 17th and May 8th and see what she did with money.
All cashier's checks are accounted for. she holds on to the checks and pay rent. You can trace with this document what she does with it. Those 2 days are totally inconsistent with what she says she does with it. furthermore, it's evidence of how she accumulates money. Look at 2008 when she has no income.
she wasn't type of person to share. when she says that on her birthday Kwame told her to share $50,000, are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?
That's Emma Bell. She's the first pillar.
Talk about credibility. "That woman can cry a tear and then freeze me into a block of ice with a stare."
She is not a person that is credible.
Karl Kado. I'm going to be short on that.
Letter from Bullotta to Kado telling him he is the target of investigation by FBI and IRS on august 30th 2005. . signed by Stephen murphy, US Attorney.
Not holding cards close to chest, saying come on in we need you to talk. since investigation started, he made over 50 phone calls to agents. Why 50 phone calls? Why 12 meetings? They already had the hammer- that letter. Those phone calls and meetings are to mold the testimony that you heard.
God love him, he's an older guy who sat there so proper. Said he gave money to Kwame and couldn't remember giving cash to Kwame for election. Maybe it was memory.
Then he talked about other things. He varied a little bit about what he said.
I know that was true because there was 8 inches of snow on the ground. Only problem is that it was in august.
This man is a confused person. This man is giving the government what they want. He earned his get out of jail card.
I feel sorry for him but you have to look at the logic of 8 inches in August.
He was not recalling things straight and suffering from dementia.
"Second pillar. Karl Kado. Not capable of being believed."
Derrick miller was a bright and intelligent guy. He was digesting my questions and trying to make sure we didn't catch him in a lie.
probably the craftiest of the witnesses.
You heard Andre Marc Cunningham say he went rogue and didn't show up at meetings. there was a good reason for that. His buddies at Jones Long Lasalle were making commissions for his. He was looking for a big commission from Sumake. He had big aspirations and hopes that had nothing to do with job he was paid for or Kwame Kilpatrick.
The extent to which he went to hide what he did was amazing. He was capable of getting a lawyer in a large firm to put together documents that weren't true. Put an affidavit that was false and submit it to jury.
Government puts him here like he has answers. You have to determine his credibility.
The General Motors deal to himself. The person at Atrium Financial admitted she was manager and it was a $500,00 deal.
"He can look you in the eye and lie like he has done so many times before."
Did you get a sense he wasn't candid? When I tried to talk to him about his deal and the time he was facing, he made 5 separate interviews with government and said he knew nothing about Kwame. He had 5 meetings. It wasn't until after he got indicted that he decided to change his testimony and talk about Kwame.
Derrick miller is another bought and paid for witness. Trading his freedom to put Kwame Kilpatrick in jail.
Shame on him. Shame on him. He was thinking about enlightenment? Hogwash.
When I confronted him about the fact he didn't go to church, he said he wasn't a Christina anymore. More hogwash.
I gave Kwame Kilpatrick money, the Andrew Park thing. Are you kidding me?
I'm the guy who wants to get paid, I send someone else out because i don't want to be seen. He goes to Asian Village where there are surveillance cameras and takes his bribe from Andrew Park. That's where the story breaks down. Tells the mayor to go to the restaurant with video cameras to get the money he sent miller to get.
He paused and hesitated when I asked questions. It doesn't make sense. He can set other people up to take the fall.
"That's the third pillar of their case. Credibility."
I don't know why Bullotta mentioned Jon Rutherford, an interesting witness. Testified about giving money. $34,000. We know that's not true. Witnesses conceding they gave $34,00 to Kwame that's not true.
Rutherford says there are reasons why he funds political people. Talks about ideals and friendship.
If you want to talk if he was involved in pay to play, he said no. He didn't expect anything. Money to buy suits.
I asked him if expected remuneration and he said no. Where's the crime?
When the government says no evidence of gifting, that sounds like gifting to me.
He wanted a casino but there are only 3 casinos in Detroit and they are not for sale. Those licenses are not easily granted. He had no chance of getting a casino license.
When government shows you text message from 2001 or 2002, or a newspaper that Kwame says when he is running for election he doesn't want a penny.
I think they played it fast and loose and that's something you should hold against them.
Want to talk about mail and wire fraud. Civic Fund, running for mayor and polling and civic groups. You should look at checks and materials generated as result of the payments.
Kwame didn't decide to run for mayor until May 2001. Prior to that Civic Fund may have been used for political purposes but was not prohibited.
Talked about 10 witnesses about 501c4. Mr. Leeman talked about broad scope of 501c4- education regarding legislative issues. all things that you see in original articles of incorporation and restated ones from July 2001.
You can see bills from William Phillips for activity from about May 2001, July 2001 when articles are restated. On August 26th when newsflash happened about Jon Rutherford and real estate business in August 2001.
Bob Berg was present at political meetings. Berg obviously there for Civic Fund issue. why is this important? As it was with Cadillac Escalade, as it was with polling. Gary Leeman said you can apportion certain expenses that were considered by the board. shortly before this Kwame had resigned and Civic Fund was run by Christine Beatty, miller and others.
when they want to ascribe criminal culpability to Kwame, I want you consider between 2002 and 2007, the government is concerned with $13,000 expenditures in question.
Between 2002 and 2007, there was $1,725 million in contributions.
Now looking at alleged personal expenses for person who didn't take a salary.
Personal expenses: $13,953 out of $1.725 million.
As a result of text message scandal, he was prosecuted, had to resign position and went to jail. Before he went to jail, William Phillips met with the board at the Manoogian Mansion dining room table. after Kwame left, there was a vote of the board to pay for some of his housing, his moving expenses a certain portion of which were reimbursed. he had no money and was going to jail.
April Edgar testified about her experience and what she thought. That testimony is measured a little bit. You heard from Erik Rayford who was at the meeting. Kwame didn't tell anyone to do anything. The board decided because he was in need. The board action was taken and they independently considered they did the right thing, why is Kwame Kilpatrick here?
You heard about the Lacosta Resort. You know that the image of Detroit is important. He takes a trip to Lacosta, he is the mayor of Detroit and his wife is the first lady.
I asked Carol Paszkiewicz why she testified that Kwame signed CM 2012. When I asked her on cross if she was sure, she said yes but she didn't have a copy.
On the next day, there is no signature on the document. Victor Mercado's signature is on it but not Kwame's.
Heard from special agent Ron Sauer who told us he had no expertise on 501c4. but that changed from first cross to a month later. He gave his opinion on what he thought were proper expenditures.
We had Gary Lemman, sweet guy got sick and couldn't come back. Government brought Mr. Carl Selz who is not a special agent. He sat throughout the trial and was supposed to be independent. Selz has only testified in 2 cases but Leeman testified in 150. he came in to offer independent opinion on what Sauer said or couldn't say. He wasn't independent because he is on the government's payroll. He rubberstamped what the government said.
Here is a man who cam here and said he was part of Certified Fraud Examiners. "He had to eat it the next day." He actually was not certified because he had been suspended 2 years earlier for failing to take his credits and he was not up to date.
There are time in this case when I see the government has extended itself too far. this is one of them.
There are times when agents have gotten chippy in a hockey way, argumentative and pushed back.
If there is gifting going on, isn't that a sign? When government tells you they have eliminated every possibility for cash, is that advocacy?
The cash receipts showing that he spent more than he had in income is a flawed account. Gary Leeman talked about science. to the extent that they ignored income that Kwame and Carlita earned before 2002, that's a flaw. You're going to see his income tax records for the three years prior, they made $375,000 in adjusted income living on Leslie with little expenses.
Carlita's accounts weren't considered. He is trying to do cash analysis- is that scientific.
When he says there is no evidence of gifting. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick giving $4,000. special agent Sauer going to Athenaeum to check Marvel Cheek's 90th function which by the way was a Civic Fund thing. He had a 90th birthday and tried to make it a community function.
That's the same place he had the "Splash of Red." Sophie Plastiras told you there were $1,500 people for his party and they gave as much as William Tandy. You do the math, i don't want to do it. $15,000. that's evidence of gifting the government missed as his 30th birthday and wedding.
They haven't talked to employees and appointees.
Sharon McPhail talked about cash gifts. We know it's not 15 because he got a Rolex watch and a trip for his family. Other than that, there are 13 potential gift raising events. You heard from Kizzi Montogomery and Sharon McPhail who talked about the appointees at base giving $25 to $50, directors giving $500. There were well over 20 directors. there were 10 cabinet members at $1000. Multiply that by 13.
Government's graph did not rule out non-taxable income. Government completely ignored gifts and loans. You can't ignore that.
McPhail's testimony was unrefuted. Kizzi Montogomery's testimony was the same. Government didn't ask McPhail one question.
How do you get beyond that?
I took the position in the beginning that I would try to show you the investigation was flawed.
11:17AM Taking a 10 minute break. Not sure why I felt that Thomas was wrapping things up.
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.
BLOG: Closing arguments start in Kilpatrick corruption trial
READ: Final charges against Kilpatrick set before jury gets case
The Kilpatricks and city contractor Bobby Ferguson are charged with conspiring to rake in cash through rigged contracts, bribes and other criminal acts. Prosecutors gave their closing argument Monday, describing Detroit city hall as a "private profit machine" with Kwame Kilpatrick at the wheel.
Nothing is planned for Wednesday because a juror needs the day off. Ferguson's attorney will give a closing argument Thursday, followed by final words from prosecutors and then deliberations.
11:35AM Thomas says he has about 20 more minutes.
This is the Kilpatrick Civic Fund money that went to Kwame. In 2003, 2006 and 2007, there are only 4 expenditures that are potential problems.
Talking about LaCosta, driving range and Spy Ops. Defendable one is Spy Ops that went to police department that is still in use.
Talked before about checks with agent Sauer about checks to Hilton Southlake Town Square, $1228 to Great Wolf Lodge, 3 checks for $1735 and $1574. These are for hotels when Kwame was incarcerated. Had Sauer add those up which showed that $13027.73 was paid pack in April 2009.
Kwame knew there were expenditures that should be reimbursed and he paid it back. He paid it back before tax return was due.
Talked about Kwame protecting his image and work that was done, ability to generate funds was diminished. Civic Fund money was significantly reduced.
I suggest that the Impact Strategies and educational Super Camp. I asked Sauer if there was an exception for the Kilpatrick name and he said no. I'll take his word on it.
Thomas neglecting that Sauer mentioned it wasn't appropriate for "figurehead."
Mahlon Clift came in with "magic" testimony. Magically came to Detroit and magically stayed at Athenaeum where there is no record of him staying except in June.
We saw the $90,000 stacked here pretty high. Clift said he traveled to Chicago, hid it in his vacuum cleaner then took $50,000 to Texas and then $40,000 to Detroit. This apparently at the behest of Bobby who could have taken it himself. We have Mahlon Clift’s testimony which I suggest is incredible. We have a test at the Detroit airport. Special agent Joe Jensen, nice looking guy, testified it was his decision how to put the money on his body though Clift testified he had cargo pants and he put money in his pockets. He went through security through Detroit airport. I mentioned magnetic fibers but we had no testimony on it. Here is the long and short of it, Mahlon Clift didn't go through any airport checkpoint. How do I know that? First of all instead of putting money in pockets, he decides he will wrap it around his waist. If I see a guy with bulge, I'll pull him aside. He looked like he had a bomb strapped to him. You saw the video. Tell me what you saw.
Incredible for another reason. How many times have you heard TSA barking "Take everything out of your pockets". Are you going to walk into line with $90,000 of someone else's money?
First thing, they are going to say is clean out your pockets.
Two reasons why this thing doesn't hold. Other thing is, he has airplane ticket from Detroit to Chicago and then Texas but no evidence of airplane tickets.
Said he stayed at Athenaeum and there is no evidence of that. It seems to be when he was interviewed, he was being questioned and the questioning stopped. He got his mom on the phone. After he talks to her, he comes with magical story.
Aside here- we heard in direct testimony that Clift's mother was a lawyer.
Gave you reasons to doubt this case. Shown you significant evidence of gifting, Mahlon Clift, the credibility of 3 most important government witnesses. Attacked the government investigation.
What is reasonable doubt? It's a fair doubt from lack of evidence. It's the kind of doubt that will cause you to hesitate.
It would cause you to hesitate in your most important affairs. It's personal. You don't look at Kilpatrick and apply a standard that applies to him. Reasonable doubt is personal.
The 3 pillars of this case and maybe 4th one is Mahlon Clift- Emma Bell, Derrick Miller, Karl Kado and maybe Clift.
Imagine its morning and you get a knock at your door and there is someone saying there is an accident down the street, don't worry. I'll watch your stuff. Imagine its Miller. Any of those witnesses saying that. Would you hesitate? Would you hesitate in the most important of your affairs?
Did you see Miller put my paper in his pocket? Derrick Miller for Derrick Miller. He's a rogue out there on his own. When Myou consider how this unfolded, I don't care which witness.
Karl Kado. Demented. Making up something. Snow in August.
Mahlon Clift. No corroboration. Gets into line at TSA without ticket or hotel.
Emma Bell. I hope I have resonated with you. You have a lot of reason for doubt.
You are going to deliberate in the back room. I am going to ask you for not guilty on all counts. Let Mr. Kilpatrick go back to his wife and kids.
11:53AM Lunch break. Back at 1:15PM for John Shea closing for Bernard Kilpatrick.
1:18PM Getting ready for John Shea's closing arguments on Bernard Kilpatrick's behalf. Still waiting for Kwame to return to the courtroom. Jim Thomas is looking very relaxed. His job in this trial is officially done.
Carlita Kilpatrick in a zebra coat over a red floral dress enters the courtroom and is followed by Kwame. looks like the boys are no longer here.
Judge Edmunds addresses the courtroom. There are apparently 3 or 4 jurors under the weather, one in particular, so they might need a break at any given moment.
Kwame took a deep breath and eyes the entering jurors. Judge tells them to rest up tomorrow on their off day
1:23PM John Shea- case is about a government that sees only what it wants to see. A poisoned view of Bernard. finds corruption behind his every act and ignores legitimacy in his business and personal relationships.
Before discussing what evidence has not shown, want to go back to discuss something else from opening statements. What is not illegal. Not illegal to provide consulting services even if he is mayor's father. Not illegal to have discussions with mayor and administration about clients even if mayor is his son. Not illegal to have general discussions with him and associates about business opportunities even if he is mayor's father.
You have heard evidence of all of these things. Rules don't apply any differently to him.
You know more about this case than I do at this point.
Bernard is 71 years old now. Back in 2001, he was 60. Father of 3 children including Kwame. They are a close family. Not uncommon to see Bernard, Kwame, Ayanna and Diara Kilpatrick together. not uncommon to see Bernard on the 11th floor to see his son.
Also a political family. Carolyn cheeks Kilpatrick was a state rep in Lansing and congresswoman in DC. Bernard worked in government. Kwame was a state rep. Bernard and family have long history in local politics. Bernard in particular was long-standing.
When Kwame was elected, Bernard had to leave county. City County in the same building- thought was it was too close when his son was the mayor. so Bernard decided to retire from county and open consulting business. Not unusual for people who retire from government jobs. Heard about Conrad Mallett, Edna Bell, former county commissioner who retired and became a consultant.
What do consultants do? Various things. The interface between client who wants something from government and government that is going to give them something or not. Government processes and expectations. Sometimes need consultant to advocate positions and make a complaint for them. Various reasons why people would want to interact through a consultant.
How do they do it? Why can't we all do it? It's because to be effective need two things: personal relationships with people in the government because they have to be willing to talk to you and have to have specialized knowledge of how things work. Few of us have that.
This is normal, common part of government life. These people provide value to clients if they can effectuate good communication with particular government entity. The more access the consultant has and the more knowledge, the more valuable that consultant is to his or her clients.
Bernard had what it took to be a successful consultant. Part by accident, related by blood to mayor and part of it was that he lived his life in government for a long time.
He was active in the Democratic Party in Detroit for a long time. Brought experience and connections to his job.
Heard how consultants get paid. Many get paid a flat fee by the month. Some get paid by the quarter. Sometimes they get a percentage of what they are working on. Sometimes people will work for a regular payment during a project and if it's successful, get a success fee as well.
Bernard Parker III proposed to Ferguson to be retained as his consultant with a monthly and success fee.
Because Bernard Kilpatrick had successful relationships and connections, he attracted clients.
Take a look at 2 exhibits: table of deposits into Maestro counts from 2002 and 2007 and more deposits into accounts. Not all clients are included in the charts.
And a juror bolts. So does another.
1:37PM Judge says that given the amount of jurors not feeling well, she doesn't feel it's fair to Shea to not have their full concentration. So Shea is continuing and possibly fully starting over on Thursday 9AM.
Special Coverage: Kilpatrick on Trial
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