Judge instructs Kilpatrick jury not to speculate on absence of Mercado

Court back in session after 9 day break, Mercado gone, Thomas Hardiman back on stand

DETROIT - 9:00 a.m.

Judge Edmunds takes the stand after a 9-day break.

"Mr. Evelyn. How nice to see you back." She tells Ferguson attorney Gerald Evelyn.

Judge Edmunds: "I have instruction we've agreed on in respect to Mr. Mercado."

Before the jury is brought in, the attorneys and judge are meeting at a sidebar.

Kwame Kilpatrick is at the table, chatting with friend and co-defendant, Bobby Ferguson.

Not only is Victor Mercado not here after his surprise guilty plea, the entire table and chairs where he and his two attorneys were sitting are gone.

Edmunds is now instructing the jury, welcoming them back after the "unplanned" break.

"I do have an instruction to give you in respect to the absence of Mr. Mercado. When you came in you may notice Mr. Mercado is no longer a part of this trial. I instruct you that you are not to speculate about the absence of Mr. Mercado."

Edmunds goes on to tell the jury that they are considering this case and the defendants separately, that they are only be tried together as a matter of convenience.

"I want to emphasis again that the remaining defendants have entered pleas of not guilty. The burden of proof is still with the government and never shifts to the defendants."

Now court is back in session.

Gerald Evelyn is back questioning Thomas Hardiman.

Hardiman is a city contractor and was on the witness stand two weeks ago when Evelyn suddenly got sick and had to sit down. Evelyn was eventually rushed to the hospital.

Hardiman says he was once a co-owner of Lakeshore Engineering.

Hardiman has testified that he gave millions to Bobby Ferguson to get his firm city contracts.

When he didn't cut Ferguson in, he testified his firm lost out on millions in Detroit water department contracts.

9:50 a.m.

Attorney Evelyn's style is to ask a question about every 3.5 seconds in rapid-fire fashion to get a one word response.

His voice didn't sound as strong when he began, but now he's back in a groove, peppering Hardiman with a list of questions focusing on all of the issues he and Ferguson agree on: helping minority business, education, taking care of family.

"We both cared about the city of Detroit and about African Americans," Hardiman said. "We would talk about the areas of increasing the hiring of African Americans in the city of Detroit."

Hardiman testified that he was quite close with Ferguson.

Evelyn is now showing a subcontract agreement between Lakeshore Engineering and another subcontractor, DCG.

They're reading the "scope of services."

Mr. Ferguson identified the line items that he wanted to do, and Angelo (DCG) identified the items that he wanted to do, Hardiman testified.

Ferguson was to get 36 percent of the contract of the $19 million contract.

Mr. Ferguson was pushed out of the contract, Evelyn suggests. He was paid to walk away from it.

Evelyn is suggesting that Hardiman and Ferguson talked about the importance of helping minority owned business, but once a big contract was awarded by the city, Lakeshore (Hardiman) left Ferguson out.

Did Ferguson have the power to have Kwame Kilpatrick cancel contracts if they were not to his liking or he wasn't cut into the money, as the government is accusing?

All he told me (Ferguson) was that the contract "Had to go across the mayor's desk.," Hardiman said.

 When questioned, Hardiman said that Ferguson never said the contract would be stopped.

10:50 a.m

Gerald Evelyn is questioning Thomas Hardiman, part owner of Sky group.  

Contract 1361 first with city for Hardiman for water main repair.  Had a relationship with ferguson for over 10 years. Had many discussions on ethnicity and hopes and dreams for their race.  Involved with Homer Ferguson Foundation.

Contract with DCG and Lakeshore and Lanzo Lining for DWSD 849.  $19.9 Million Contract.  Ferguson and DCG both wanted to to do the same work.  Ferguson wanted 20%.  Change order brought total to $44M. 

Feb 1, 2005 text: Gary Delasondro, father of Angelo ask Ferguson to give him a call.  "New issues have arrived."  Inland waters bid $22m for the same contract.  Evelyn trying to show ferguson was part of the bid process. 

Bid proposal for DWSD 865 - claimed Mr.Fred Erdman from FEI project manager with a very good resume saying he worked for A&H (on loan) Hardiman had no knowledge of this guy.  A&H had no project managers with these credentials - important for winning bid.  Would benefit A&H and Lakeshore.

Same proposal shows Mr. Derla as an employee of A&H and foreman for 8 years - loaned to A&H for this project.

10:33 a.m. video frozen - thomas asks for a break.

12:12 p.m.

Ferguson to the rescue

An 8" water main being installed by A&H at Fox Creek shifted underground during installation and Ferguson who was working a few block over from the project came to fix the problem with two of his guys.

Ferguson had four streets he was working on and A&H had three streets on the Fox creek project - where the problem occurred.

Hardiman, with much consternation, agrees Fergusion was a capable contractor but does seem to question the direction of this line of questioning. 

Hardiman has doubts as to the validity of the field reports.  

Documents are coming directly from Mr. Ferguson and from his office.

12:55 p.m.

During the break - Ferguson at the podium highlighting documents for Evelyn.

12:31 back in session.  Evelyn continues to present documents that Hardiman does not recall - his response: "that's what the document says" and "it was written by someone at Fergusons."

change orders for CM 2014 - show FEI was paid for shifted water main repair.

Ferguson helped Lakeshore and A&H when they needed help.  Hardiman knew Ferguson could help and had expertise to work on water mains. Hardiman avoids saying he "trusted" Ferguson.

Evelyn presenting documents for bids showing Lakeshore used past projects that Ferguson worked on including a picture of an excavator that may or may not be owned by Ferguson.  Government has since confiscated all of Fergusons heavy machines.

12:54 Done for the day - judge says Friday court will end at 11am.  Turkey week and all.

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