Lawyers for former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick say dozens of interviews have failed to turn up any evidence he obstructed the investigation into the slaying of a stripper who was sprayed with bullets in a drive-by shooting in 2003.
Kilpatrick’s legal team wants a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Tamara Greene’s family. The 40-page document is his most comprehensive response to allegations that have dogged him in and out of city hall.
It was filed under seal last week, but U.S. Chief District Judge Gerald Rosen ordered it unsealed Wednesday.
Greene’s relatives are suing the city of Detroit and Kilpatrick, claiming they stifled the probe when he was in office and violated the family’s civil rights. No one has been charged in her fatal shooting.
After dozens of depositions over several months, no witness has “confirmed any relevant and admissible material fact that Kwame Kilpatrick either personally, or by agreement, obstructed, impeded and interfered or directed others to obstruct … the investigation,” attorneys James Thomas and Michael Naughton wrote.
They agree with lawyers for the city, who claim Greene was caught in the middle of a drug feud when she was gunned down while in a car with a boyfriend. He survived.
There’s an allegation – never proved – that Greene danced at the mayoral mansion months before her death and was attacked there by Kilpatrick’s wife.
“The alleged party at the mansion is a red herring. … No witness has come forward to say that there is any relationship between any of that and the death of Tamara Greene,” Kilpatrick’s lawyers said.
The court filing describes how the case moved from the police department’s homicide division to a cold case squad to the desk of the Wayne County prosecutor, then back to cold case and, finally, a multi-agency task force. Authorities believe they know who killed Greene, but they don’t have enough evidence to charge him. He’s in prison for another crime.
Kilpatrick’s lawyers concede some officers have offered affidavits accusing their Detroit police bosses of hindering the investigation at times, but no one offered direct evidence against the former mayor during depositions.
Greene family attorney Norman Yatooma has three weeks to respond to the filing. He called it “same nonsense, different day.”
“There is no evidence of obstruction? What’s he talking about. We’ll go through every deposition chapter and verse,” Yatooma said.
Kilpatrick resigned in 2008 after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice in an unrelated matter. He is in state prison for violating his probation in that case and is under indictment on tax and fraud charges in federal court.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)