DETROIT - The Kilpatrick federal corruption trial abruptly ended today when Bobby Ferguson's attorney Gerald Evelyn was ferried away by ambulance from the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse.
Evelyn had been in the middle of his cross-examination of witness Thomas Hardiman Sr., a former senior executive with Lakeshore Engineering, when he suddenly stopped and asked the judge if he could have a break. It quickly became apparent that the defense lawyer was feeling extremely unwell as he sat with his head down on his arms at the defense table.
The courtroom was cleared as two courthouse medical staff members made their way in to evaluate Evelyn. An ambulance was called and a little after 12PM, Evelyn was carted out the Fort St. exit on a stretcher. He wore an oxygen mask and his eyes were closed. Mike Rataj, another lawyer for Ferguson, accompanied Evelyn to the ambulance.
Before his medical issue arose, Evelyn had been busy dismantling Hardiman's testimony from Friday. The witness had testified last week that Ferguson had forced his way onto Detroit Water and Sewerage (DWSD) contracts by leveraging his relationship the mayoral administration and had demanded more than a million in payment even when no work was done.
Evelyn pointed out for the jury that Hardiman had received a letter of immunity from the government before his second grand jury appearance in December 2010. He also pointed out that Hardiman had supported Kwame Kilpatrick through two elections and in 2005, offered him office space in a Woodward Ave. building for his mayoral campaign headquarters.
And this was done for business purposes by promoting Hardiman's name recognition via exposure to the mayor said Evelyn. Hardiman conceded that was true. The witness also agreed with Evelyn that Ferguson was a proud family man who encouraged minority businesses.
But the strongest part of Evelyn's cross came right at the end. On Friday, Hardiman testified that he lost two contracts totaling $15 million by failing to cut Ferguson into the $10 million contract. He further testified that Ferguson demanded money without providing work and that he paid him because he feared more canceled contracts.
Evelyn introduced as evidence the Lakeshore bid proposal for contract WS 849. This was the same contract that Hardiman had testified Lanzo Lining's Angelo D'Alessandro had paid Ferguson more than a million to just walk away from. The bid proposal showed that the inclusion of Ferguson Enterprises Inc. (FEI) had helped boost the proposal by ticking the most boxes on the local and economic development weighted score. Of all the partners on the proposal, FEI had the most employees that were Detroit residents, minorities and women as well as being both a Detroit-headquartered business (DHB) and a Detroit-based business (DBB). And for this, FEI would get 36% of the work when the contract was awarded.
So Evelyn said, it wasn't Ferguson trying to take work away from D'Alessandro's Lanzo Lining but D'Alessandro trying to take Ferguson's excavation work for himself. Evelyn introduced a record of payment to Ferguson drawn up by D'Alessandro that showed 2 clear amounts: $273,786 and $900,000.
"So he didn't just write a check (to Ferguson), there was a formula?" asked Evelyn. Yes replied Hardiman.
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