Courtroom blog: Recap of Bobby Ferguson's sentencing

9:02M. St. Pierre @ Local4: 9:01 a.m. We're about an hour away from Bobby Ferguson's sentencing. So far, it's a much quieter day at the court house compared to his friend Kwame Kilpatrick yesterday.

9:26M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Bobby Ferguson was convicted on 9 counts including racketeering and extortion. The government has asked for 14 to 28 years. Ferguson's attorneys have asked that their client be sentenced to just 10 years. U.S. Judge Nancy Edmunds will render her sentence today.

9:33M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Kwame Kilpatrick spent some time during his statement yesterday talking about his friend Bobby Ferguson. Kilpatrick said Bobby was already making $24 million a year before he became mayor.

9:35M. St. Pierre @ Local4: I wonder if Bobby Ferguson will be in prison clothes or if he will be wearing a suit. Kilpatrick was brought into the courtroom in hand cuffs and prison khakis.

9:41M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Remember this will not be the end for Bobby Ferguson. He still faces a retrial in the federal bid rigging case. The first trial ended in a mistrial last year.

9:43M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Bobby Ferguson's wife Marilyn is in the federal courthouse.

9:43M. St. Pierre @ Local4: The two are getting a divorce but she is still here today.

9:48M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Three of Bobby's children wrote letters in support of their father in preparation for today's sentencing. Coworkers wrote letters too.

9:50M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Kwame Kilpatrick's father Bernard will be sentenced next week. We learned yesterday he has been spending a lot of time in Texas as a father figure for Kwame's three sons.

9:51M. St. Pierre @ Local4: The cameras in the courtoom are now up and running.

9:52M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Bobby Ferguson's attorney Michael Rataj is already in place. His other attorney Susan Van Dusen is also in the courtroom.

9:53M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Kilpatrick's attorney Harold Gurewitz is in attendance too. Just one day after seeing his client sentenced to 28 years.

9:56M. St. Pierre @ Local4: We are just a few minutes away from getting started. Local 4 Defender Kevin Dietz is in the courtroom.

9:57M. St. Pierre @ Local4: U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade is back in court this morning.

9:59M. St. Pierre @ Local4: U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta, one of the prosecutors during the trial, is going over his notes.

10:00M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson's wife is seated in the second row.

10:01M. St. Pierre @ Local4: There are not many people in the courtroom this morning.

10:01M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Bobby Ferguson is now in the courtroom in prison khakis and handcuffs.

10:02M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He looks much thinner than during the trial.

10:02M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Handcuffs are off and he is greeting his attorneys.

10:03M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson is huddled with his attorneys. I wonder what they're talking about.

10:03M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Heads are down and they were holding hands.

10:03M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Judge Nancy Edmunds has entered the courtroom. Let's get started.

10:04M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson turns to talk to his wife briefly.

10:04M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Bobby appears more laid back than Kwame did yesterday.

10:05M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Edmunds will take up objections first. Ferguson is writing on his notepad.

10:06M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson's attorney Gerald Evelyn is presenting objections.

10:07M. St. Pierre @ Local4: They are going to take up the scoring objections first. Evelyn says the fraud loss analysis in the presentencing report is inappropriate. Making the same objections Kwame's attorneys did yesterday.

10:08M. St. Pierre @ Local4: US attorney Michael Bullotta is speaking now against the defense's objections.

10:09M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson seems relaxed. He is sitting facing forward, hands in his lap.

10:11M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Judge Edmunds appears to be agreeing with the goverment on the issue of the fraud loss amounts. That is what she did with Kilpatrick yesterday.

10:11M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson is engrossed in documents with his attorney Gerald Evelyn.

10:13M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Remember the government wanted Ferguson and Kilpatrick to pay more than 9.6 million in restitution. Yesterday Edmunds dropped that number to $4.6 million for Kilpatrick considering the money lost on only the counts convicted.

10:14M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Edmunds says she will do the same for Ferguson considering only the counts he was convicted on in March.

10:15M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Edmunds puts the fraud loss for Ferguson at $6,284,000.

10:16M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Evelyn brings up the obstruction of justice charges and wants that dropped to return Ferguson's sentencing score. He says testimony didn't reflect that. Edmunds disagrees and says there was ample testimony. She says that enhancement is appropriate.

10:19M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Evelyn making more objections to wording in the sentencing report, but they don't impact sentencing guidelines.

10:21M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson is not silent and still like Kwame was yesterday. He is moving around in his chari quite a bit, looking at documents with his attorneys. And again is much thinner than we have seen him before.

10:23M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Evelyn is still going over objections about wording in the report about specific contracts.

10:24M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Edmunds continues to agree with the government and is not ruling with the defense.

10:25M. St. Pierre @ Local4: The camera zoomed out to show the courtroom, only a handful of people are in attendance.

10:26M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Evelyn is going paragraph by paragraph disputing statements. Edmunds still ruling with the government.

10:27M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Evelyn is asking changes be made because they are not supported by testimony. Judge Edmunds disagrees.

10:28M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson is carrying on a conversation with someone right now. We can't see who it is though.

10:32M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Evelyn objects to the use of the word "muscle" in reference to Ferguson using "his muscle" to get contracts. Edmunds says that's a fair assessment of Ferguson.

10:32M. St. Pierre @ Local4: No more objections at this time.

10:32M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Edmunds asks Ferguson's attorneys to make any statements in support of their client.

10:33M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Evelyn will be speaking again.

10:33M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Defense submitted an exhibit yesterday from Ferguson's pastor.

10:34M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Evelyn starts by taking about Ferguson being married to his high school sweetheart and had five children. He makes reference to letters from children and that he was a good father. He is also a grandfather, has two grandchildren, one he hasn't seen yet.

10:35M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Evelyn now talking about Ferguson's successful business. Says he won his largest contract before Kilpatrick became mayor. He says it was a successful company built in a tough, bare knuckle industry. He employed people who otherwise might have never had a chance to work.

10:36M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Evelyn trying to make a case that Ferguson's business was integral to employing people and had other businesses relying on him. He says Ferguson helped build minority companies.

10:36M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He says Ferguson helped people get started in the construction industry.

10:37M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Evelyn says Ferguson is no longer going to be the man that he was. There is no chance he will be in the construction industry again. His company was destroyed.

10:37M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson is smiling and shaking his head.
Evelyn says there is no concern about Ferguson again. His life has come crashing down around him. What he had materially, he no longer has.

10:38M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He says materially he has lost everything, but in certain ways he has evolved and changed. He says Pastor Marvin Winans described him as a friend in Christ. Winans says he has made a change in lifestyle and I believe he should be given another chance in society. Winans says he has been involved with Ferguson for five years.

10:39M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Evelyn says they could have filled the courtroom with supporters of Ferguson, but he says that shouldn't be necessary. H thinks the letter Winans wrote shows Ferguson's life is on a different trajectory. He thinks that illuminates the kind of person Ferguson is and was.

10:39M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Evelyn says he has known Ferguson for 10 years. He remembers going to Ferguson Industries and thinking it looked like the United Nations. People of all races, women ... etc.

10:40M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He says that reflects a person wanting to get the job done the right way.
He says Ferguson is described as evil and steps over people.
But he says Ferguson has a softer side, a tender side and those who have been in touch with him, know that.
He says the way Ferguson has been perceived is not the whole person.

10:42M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Evelyn gives an example of a Crohn's walk he attended. He looked up and saw Ferguson there with his son. He says that's a small thing, but it's the small things that make a person.
Evelyn asks Judge Edmunds to sentence the entire person and not be so focused on the conduct but consider the rest of Bobby Ferguson.

10:42M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Michael Bullotta is speaking for the prosecutors.

10:42M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He starts by addressing whether Ferguson helped minority contractors. Bullotta disagrees with that agrument. He doesn't think Ferguson helped them.

10:42M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Bullotta says Ferguson doesn't come here with a clean slate. He has a history, a significant criminal history of violence.

10:43M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He makes reference to a pistol whipping at age 36 and that the victim is still suffering today.

10:43M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He says Ferguson's acts have gone largely unpunished.

10:43M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He says that might be why Ferguson is so emboldent.

10:44M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson has his arms crossed and his head tilted.

10:44M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Bullotta says Ferguson was never voted in but he was the muscle and the money man.

10:45M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He says Ferguson's threats were financial and not physical.

10:45M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Bullotta says Ferguson was not just the muscle but the money man. He says so much money went through Ferguson's accounts it took years to go through it. He makes reference to $73 million.

10:47M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Bullotta gives examples of contracts Ferguson shouldn't have got because his bids came in higher. He talks about double bidding.
He says Ferguson was not the mayor but when people voted in Kilpatrick they had no idea they were enabling Ferguson.

10:47M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Bullotta asks for a significant sentence, equal to that or close to Kilpatrick.
He has done profound damage to the city.

10:47M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Evelyn gets back up.

10:47M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Evelyn is disputing a contract reference in Bullotta's statement.

10:48M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson is looking down. Fidgeting with his hands.

10:48M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Evelyn says this is the problem, the government wants to tell you half the story.

10:48M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Edmunds asks Ferguson if he wants to speak. He says yes.

10:48M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson has a book in his hand.

10:49M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He says "how you doing your honor? He says he doesn't know what he is about to say.

10:49M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He says he struggled with this for the past several months.

10:49M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He says this courtroom has turned into interpretation.

10:49M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He says the only thing that can't be misinterpreted is the word of God.
He says today is his wife's birthday. He wishes her happy birthday. "Happy Birthday Marilyn."

10:50M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He says everything is interpreted the way the government. He says it doesn't come down to whether you're guilty or innocent. He says in 7 months he has been able to see what the justice system is made of. He says it's shocking.

10:51M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He says today when he came here he was put in a room with a young man who is 19. He talks about the number of black men in prison. He says 40%
He says the young man looked so young and the young man said good luck to him.
Ferguson says he is 44 years old, has 5 kids, 2 grandkids.

10:52M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He says he has lived his life, but he says for a 19 year old to get 20 years is heartbreaking.

10:52M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He says in America it feels genocidal to black people. He says he is not going to make this about race.
He says that's why he doesn't talk a lot.

10:53M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He is now talking about the family business, Ferguson Enterprises and his father, his principals and what he believed in. He says his father believed in hard work.

10:54M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Goes back to interpretation. He says seems like everything interpreted in here is different than how it really is.
The only thing I can really do here, I don't think I'm going to say something that will change this.
He says he wants to read something from the bible.

10:54M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He prays and asks the Lord to continue to bless his children.

10:55M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He says this is bigger than Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson. He says we need rehabilitation in the prison system. He says all they do in prison is argue and play games. He says they're all young or if not they're on something or need mental help.

10:55M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He says it's not about being innocent or guilty, it's about the world we live in.
He is reading from the bible
He is wearing a cross around his neck.

10:56M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He finished reading the bible and then says he is just here to glorify God's name and thank him from his past and his future blessings.

10:57M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He is reading something from Roman's 72. It's from a daily bread book he reads every day.

10:58M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Says he wants to thank the Lord for all he is done for him. He thanks and prays the Lord blesses the words you're about to read. In reference to what Judge Edmunds will sentence him to shortly.

10:58M. St. Pierre @ Local4: We are now in a short break.

10:58M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson is smiling and talking to his attorneys.

11:00M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Absolutely no admission of guilt and no apologies from Bobby Ferguson during his statement.

11:00M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson seemed to want to emphasize the role of God in his life and what a hard working family he comes from and that today is not about guilt or innocence.

11:01M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He also kept hitting on interpretation and that everything about this case and about him has been interpreted the way the prosecution has wanted.

11:04M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Both Ferguson's wife and one of his daughters is here.

11:05M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson is huddled with his attorneys talking right now.

11:15M. St. Pierre @ Local4: We are still in a break. Ferguson appears to be out of the courtroom right now.

11:16M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson is being brought back in. Looks like we'll get started again soon.

11:20M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Court is back in session.

11:21M. St. Pierre @ Local4: We're just waiting for Judge Edmunds to return.

11:22M. St. Pierre @ Local4: She is back.

11:23M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Edmunds will begin with the guidelines calculation. She will say the probation dept. has correctly scored the guidelines and all of the points they assigned are legitmate. They scored 40, criminal level 3.
For her purposes, she is scoring this at at 38 because she eliminated all the contract amounts that were not found by the jury.

11:24M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson is sitting with the Bible opened.

11:24M. St. Pierre @ Local4: She is putting the fraud loss at $6.3 million.

11:24M. St. Pierre @ Local4: She reminds the guidelines are advisory, not mandatory.

11:25M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Edmunds says they look at the nature and circumstance of the defense. She says Ferguson was the catalyst at the center of an extortion scheme with Kilpatrick.
It started when Kilpatrick was in the state legislature.

11:26M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Edmunds say activity escalated when Kwame became mayor. They extorted millions from local contractors, forcing them to partner with Ferguson on contracts or see them cancelled or stalled.

11:26M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Edmunds giving examples of extortion.

11:28M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Edmunds says Ferguson falsified invoices or did straw invoices to hide his criminal activity.

11:28M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Edmunds talks about how Kilpatrick's power grew so did Ferguson's reach.

11:29M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson is also liable for obstruction of justice for threatening his mistress and her sisters if they didn't falisfy their testimony to a grand jury about campaign finance.

11:29M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Edmunds says he mispresented his financial situation to this court.

11:30M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson is sitting with his hands in his lap. Appears to disagree with Edmunds comments.
Edmunds says Ferguson was bold .. .makes references to text messages.
She says they schemed for new ways to continue their criminal work.

11:31M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Edmunds says much has been made by his counsel and his codefendants about his legimate company and hard work. She says there is no question he worked but he has a history of hot headedness.
He never seemed to stop bullying his way into what he wanted.
He has lied.
He continues to own and possess firearms despite felony convictions.

11:32M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Edmunds talks about seriousness of the offense.
The serioius impact on the morale of the city of Detroit cannot be overstated. The atmosphere of corruption the lack of accountability and transparency forced many people out of the city.

11:33M. St. Pierre @ Local4: While Ferguson claimed to be assisting minority cases, Edmunds says while he might have done that, he was ruthless in putting contractors out of business to advance his own.

11:33M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Edmunds says I believe Ferguson needs to be substantially punished in order to deter others.

11:34M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson has received nothing but raps on the knuckles for his previous criminal acts.
She believes that has emboldened him.

11:35M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Edmunds says there are serious differences between Ferguson's conduct and Kilpatricks.
First of all, Mr. Ferguson was not the mayor, he was not elected, there was no public trust, and that would certainly would argue for a lower sentence.

11:36M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Edmunds says he was never elected to anything and he has no elected accountability to the people of southeast Michigan in the same way Kilpatrick did.
She says another difference is Kilpatrick was convicted of a greater number of charges including mail and wire fraud, tax evasion.
Ferguson was not and that is a significant different.
However she says, the sentencing guidelines are very substantial in this case.
She will give him a total sentence of 21 years.

11:37M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Ferguson is just looking ahead.

11:37M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He seems to have no reaction to his 21 year sentence. He leans into his attorney.

11:37M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Court orders restitution in an amount to be determined.

11:38M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Breakdown of count sentence:
Count 17 12 months to run consecutive
Other counts 240 months each to run concurrently.

11:38M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Restitution will happen in the next 90 days.

11:39M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He has to give his probation officer access to any financial information.

11:39M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He will participate in an anger management program.
She says he has to refrain from the excessive use of alcohol.

11:39M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Edmunds asks if there are any objections.
There are none.

11:42M. St. Pierre @ Local4: As for forfeiture, parties have come to an agreement.
He will forfeit 15 pieces of the government listed and monetary instruments listed and forfeit two properies in Detroit.

11:42M. St. Pierre @ Local4: He also has to forfeit and pay $6,284,000

11:44M. St. Pierre @ Local4: Court is officially in recess.
Ferguson is talking to his attorneys.
He is still in the courtroom but he is already handcuffed.

11:44M. St. Pierre @ Local4: The courtroom camera just went dark.

11:46M. St. Pierre @ Local4: It did not seem that Ferguson got a chance to do much more than look at his wife and daughter before he was taken out of the courtroom. He was quickly handcuffed.

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