On trial: Was Kwame Kilpatrick cleaning up, or cashing in on dirty Detroit water department?

Kilpatrick, Bobby Ferguson's defense team insist ex-mayor was trying to clean up department by recalculating contractor bids

By Kevin Dietz - Reporter

DETROIT - Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick gave a wave and thumbs up Wednesday as he made his way into federal court with his contractor buddy, and co-defendant, Bobby Ferguson.

Question of the day: Was Kilpatrick cashing in on, or cleaning up, a dirty Detroit water department?

Internal water department memos show there were concerns that companies had inside help with some of the department engineers who evaluate contracting bids. The defense argued Kilpatrick was not changing bidding calculations to benefit companies working with Ferguson but rather doing his job trying to save the city of Detroit money by rooting out unscrupulous contractors.

Local 4 legal expert Todd Flood said the defense scored points Wednesday with the jury.

Kilpatrick on Trial: Recap of Day 30 testimony

"They moved the ball back, or the pendulum back into the favor of the defense today," said Flood. "They moved the pendulum back to raising questions of reasonable doubt."

Witnesses have testified Kilpatrick and former water boss Victor Mercado were recalculating the bid scoring process to make sure companies playing ball with Ferguson were awarded lucrative deals. The defense has insisted dirty contractors had been working deals long before Kilpatrick's administration and that Kilpatrick, who was proud of Detroit's awards for having the cleanest, best-tasting water, wanted things behind the scenes to be just as pure.

Former Detroit FBI boss Andy Arena is not sure the jury will buy that story.

"Nice try. Not so much," Arena said.

-- Defense attorney Jim Thomas with defendants Bobby Ferguson and Kwame Kilpatrick on Wednesday outside Detroit federal court.

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