Taxpayers to pay for Kwame Kilpatrick's 4th attorney in federal corruption trial

Former Detroit mayor Kilpatrick to be appointed 4th attorney amid potential conflict of interest with current lawyer

DETROIT - Taxpayers will have to pay more for former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's defense team as his federal corruption trial kicks off.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds said Wednesday a fourth attorney will be appointed to Kilpatrick's team. This comes after a judge denied Kilpatrick's request to remove his longtime attorney Jim Thomas due to a conflict of interest.

If the judge would have allowed the motion, the trial would have been delayed for months. Kilpatrick couldn't drop Thomas, but he will get another attorney on his team.

"It's a safeguard for the conflict," said Local 4 legal expert Todd Flood. "Because they don't want to have an appellate issue. They want to make sure that the case is something that's protected and all the safeguards are put in place. So, it makes sense."

Complete coverage: Kilpatrick's federal corruption trial

Court-appointed attorneys can be paid up to $120 or more an hour for their services. Sources say that in a case such as Kilpatrick's, the legal defense bill will reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. The taxpayers will foot the bill.

It's not clear who the new lawyer is. However, Local 4 is told whoever it is, he or she likely will have a limited role in the case.

-- Jim Thomas with Kwame Kilpatrick

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