Christine Beatty says she received payoff before leaving Detroit

Former staffer brings up scandal with Kwame Kilpatrick's federal corruption trial on horizon

By Kevin Dietz - Reporter


Attorneys for Kwame Kilpatrick, Bernard Kilpatrick, Bobby Ferguson and Victor Mercado made their way in and out of the Detroit courthouse on Monday.

With just a month remaining before the trial begins, a name from the past has brought the biggest bombshell in the federal corruption case: Christine Beatty.

More: Judge to rule on Kilpatrick evidence before trial

Beatty, the former mistress and chief of staff for ex-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, is making allegations of a secret payoff. She had slipped away from the text messaging scandal when she left Detroit for Atlanta.

Complete coverage: Kwame Kilpatrick corruption case

Now, according to an attorney in the Kilpatrick corruption case, Beatty did not leave Detroit empty-handed. The attorney for former Detroit water boss Victor Mercado says Beatty was given $140,000 from the Kilpatrick civic fund which was supposed to give her a soft landing after being forced to resign.

Mercado is asking for a separate trial from the others charged because he never received bribes or kickbacks.

"Suggest to the jury and the court that their guy is not the right person to be here and didn't get any money or benefit in any way," Keith Corbett, a former prosecutor.

Corbett is a former prosecutor who pointed out Beatty may have taken money without being charged while Mercado faces charges without taking money. Prosecutors will turn over financial records involving Beatty in the next few days.

Local 4 legal analyst Todd Flood says the defense team looked good on Monday.

"You can see that they're not just going to go away. It's going to be a good fight," he said.

Prosecutors threw out two major bribery counts against the defendants. Defense attorneys wanted more to be dismissed but the judge shut them down there. The defense also will be given their names and hometowns of jurors. But those names are not to be made public.

"The judge has to do her best to thoughtfully consider all those things and rule. That's what she did," said John Shea, attorney for Bernard Kilpatrick.

Prosecutors will call 170 witnesses. That means the trial could last 4 months or longer. Kwame Kilpatrick and the other defendants must be at court Wednesday when 400 prospective jurors show up to fill out questionnaires.

The trial is scheduled to begin in September.

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