Kwame Kilpatrick's lawyers to say extra $500K is gifts from friends

Former Detroit mayor's defense team to argue extra money is gifts from friends; prosecution to put those 'friends' on witness stand

By Kevin Dietz - Reporter

DETROIT - Kwame Kilpatrick's birthday is June 8.

When he was mayor of Detroit he celebrated his birthday at Atheneum Suite Hotel in downtown Detroit. They called it a "splash of red" party, but it was all about green, as in money.

Millionaire cable and casino operator Don Barden held up a box and said, "I'm putting in $5,000, who's next?" The box of money was passed around the party and then given to Kilpatrick as a birthday present.

Focus is on money in Kwame Kilpatrick trial's 1st day of testimony

Kilpatrick would not answer Local 4 Defender Kevin Dietz's questions about the birthday money. However, in court, his lawyer said the former Detroit mayor has a lot of friends, many of whom are millionaires, such as Tony Suave, Roger Pensky, Peter Karmanos, Barden and, of course, his best friend Bobby Ferguson.

Kilpatrick's defense team plans to explain away the extra $500,000 in cash running through the defendant's bank accounts as gifts to the mayor from his adoring friends.

Prosecutors plan to put some of those friends on the witness stand where they are expected to say they were extorted into giving large gifts to Kilpatrick under the threat of losing contract work with the city of Detroit.

Kilpatrick federal trial special section

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