Kwame Kilpatrick's former fundraiser, Emma Bell, tells jury she paid him more than $200,000 in kickbacks

Fundraiser for former Detroit mayor tells federal court she gave him kickbacks of more than $200,000

By Kevin Dietz - Reporter


Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's ex-fundraiser told the court Thursday about paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks to Kilpatrick.

Emma Bell was in tears and clearly upset to tell her story. However, she insisted she was telling the truth.

Bell told jurors she stashed thousands of dollars in her bra and purse and took the money to the mayor's office and the Manoogian Mansion. She said it was $8,000 to $10,000 at a time and it amounted to more than $200,000 during the time Kilpatrick spent in office.

"If they believe her, as it relates to what she gave to Kwame and how she gave the money to Kwame, that's a really bad day for the defense," said Local 4 Legal Expert and veteran defense attorney Todd Flood.

Witness says she hid, gave money to Kilpatrick

She said Kilpatrick would put the envelopes of money in his pants pocket, say thank you, and "I'll see you later." Bell appeared pained to tell the story that could sink the former Detroit mayor. She told jurors she has strong feelings for Kwame Kilpatrick, Bernard Kilpatrick, Carolin Cheeks Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson, who, she says, would occasionally give her cash when she was low on funds.

Bell said she has raised money for many political campaigns and Kilpatrick is the only politician to demand kickbacks on her commissions.

The defense was poised to point out Bell cannot be believed.

"We're going to see a series of witnesses that are going to be coming in, that are going to be testifying, and it's a process," said Kilpatrick's attorney Jim Thomas. "Let's hear what they have to say and let the jury decide."

While Bell was solid on the stand, the defense made some very important and detailed points as to why her story does not add up.

Defense tells jury Bell was gambling money away

Bell owed the IRS money and Kilpatrick's campaign paid her $900,000. However, the defense told the jury Bell didn't use the money to pay off her debt but instead went to the casino where she lost $150,000 over four years.

Bell said there were only two people in the room on Thursday who knew the truth, other than God.

-- Emma Bell outside court

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