DETROIT – Kwame Kilpatrick's trial lasted five months, with dozens of witnesses taking the stand. Now the former mayor wants a do-over.
A court in Ohio is listening to arguments Tuesday as to why he should get a new trial.
The last time we saw Kilpatrick he was convicted by a jury of racketeering and sentenced to 28 years in prison. Among his crimes were ripping off Detroit taxpayers in a pay-for-play city contract scheme with his buddy Bobby Ferguson.
For the past year, Kilpatrick has been serving time in Oklahoma. Guards tell him when to wake, what to eat, what to wear and when to sleep, but those who know the former mayor of Detroit said Tuesday is the day he has been waiting for, to get his shot at a new trial.
"He is a very bright man," said Local 4 legal expert Todd Flood. "He is no slouch, he will be assisting in his defense."
The 6th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals has agreed to hear oral arguments as to why Kilpatrick should get a new trial. His best shot is the argument that his attorney, James Thomas, knew and represented some of the witnesses who testified against Kilpatrick.
Kilpatrick tried to fire Thomas just days before his trial but the judge said no, instead offering Kilpatrick an additional attorney to handle the parts of the case that could be a conflict of interest.
"I think this judge did a good job of making sure the defendant's right were protected and (the) law was followed," said Local 4 legal expert Andy Arena.
Keith Corbett was a U.S. attorney for 30 years. He said Kilpatrick can ask for a new trial but that doesn't mean he will get one
"You have right to the council of your choice but you don't have the right to continually delay the trial," Corbett said.
Neil Rockind has argued before the court on other cases. He said Kilpatrick's attorney will have only 20 minutes to convince a three-juror panel. Then co-defendant Bobby Ferguson's attorney gets 20 minutes. The prosecutors have 40 minutes to say why Kilpatrick's trial was fair. Rockind said these are excellent, no-nonsense justices making the decision.
"The 6th Circuit (Court) has the reputation of being one of the better in the country -- call it pretty straight," Rockind said.