When Ferguson heard that his girlfriend of 7 years was to be questioned by the FBI, he told her to "stick to your story." Newsome admitted that as a result she initially lied to investigators about the money orders.
U.S. Attorney Jennifer Blackwell asked the witness what Ferguson meant when he said that.
"That the money was mine," replied Newsome.
Newsome's sister Darlene Jefferson testified that in 2005, before she was due to testify to a grand jury, Ferguson came into her bedroom and told her to say that the money never came from him. Jefferson said that Ferguson warned her if she didn't, it would fall back on her sister Renee and "she would get in trouble for the money order."
All three sisters were refunded the full amount of the campaign contributions around the time they were being questioned by the FBI. They testified they never returned the money to Ferguson.
Earlier in the morning, convicted businessman Jon Rutherford was asked by Kwame Kilpatrick defense lawyer Jim Thomas if he had any expectation of remuneration or reward for his various financial contributions to the Kilpatricks. No replied Rutherford. This seemed contrary to yesterday's testimony which indicated he hoped that he would land an ambitious casino project on the East Riverfront in return for his financial favors.
Witness Ahmad Chebbani, the co-founder of the Arab-American Chamber of Commerce, told the court about a trip to Dubai in May 2002. Chebbani led a Detroit trade delegation that included Kwame Kilpatrick, his former bodyguard Loronzo Jones and former aide Derrick Miller. On the last night of the four day trip, Kilpatrick left in the middle of a dinner with high-ranking Dubai officials in order to get fitted for a suit. Yesterday Rutherford testified to giving Killpatrick $10,000 for suits for the Dubai trip.
Upon return from the trip, Chebbani said he got a call from Miller asking about the shipping of suits. The witness said he was surprised by the question and told him he knew nothing about it. Miller told him that it seemed the suits had gotten lost in the mail.
Ernest Johnson of non-profit Community Coalition testified that he was contacted by Bernard Kilpatrick in 2001. Kilpatrick wanted the civic organization to endorse Kwame for mayor in the upcoming election. Johnson testified to receiving nearly $90,000 from Rutherford's DPR Management LLC to help pay for staffers who distributed election brochures and drivers who would take voters to the polls. On election day in November 2001, Johnson met with Rutherford to get a check for several thousand which he cashed at a grocery store.
"People at the top of the slate pay the slate," said Johnson.
Court resumes Monday at 9AM.
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.