DETROIT – She was a Kwame Kilpatrick insider and key witness in the case against him, and you may be surprised to learn what could happen to Emma Bell.
Bell is a long-time friend of Kilpatrick who flipped. The one-time fundraiser for his campaign and civic fund helped investigators paint a picture of the former Detroit mayor as a money-hungry man who made some of those closest to him do some of the dirty work.
To say Bell's testimony, which included stories about her stashing money in her bra and delivering it to Kilpatrick, was key testimony is an understatement. Looking back, she was a star witness.
"She depicted Mr. Kilpatrick as her son, she took him in really close. Her testimony really corroborated the government's point about the kickbacks that she was giving to Kwame," said legal expert Todd Flood.
Now, because of Bell's cooperation, the Local 4 Defender's have learned from newly released documents that the feds are hoping the judge cuts Bell a break. In the sentencing guideline they say, "Ms. Bell volunteered information about misconduct of which the government was unaware, namely, the fact that Kwame Kilpatrick had demanded she pay him cash commission kickbacks."
The 70-year-old Bell is back in Detroit federal court on Thursday. She pleaded guilty to a tax crime and owes more than $300,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.
The U.S. Attorney's Office is recommending a sentence of 12 months or less, a punishment below the guidelines. The government says Bell is remorseful about her crime and gave substantial assistance to agents in the Kilpatrick case.
"She may just get probation, and realistically that's a strong possibility," said Flood.