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Ex-Mayor, Others Arraigned In Federal Court

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Kwame Kilpatrick (AP, File)

Kwame Kilpatrick (AP, File)

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Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his father, Bernard, and three other men have been arraigned on federal pay-to-play charges.

The Kilpatricks, former Detroit water boss Victor Mercado, businessman Bobby Ferguson and ex-Kwame Kilpatrick aide Derrick Miller had “not guilty” pleas entered for them Monday afternoon in federal court in Detroit.

WWJ’s Beth Fisher spoke with Kwame Kilpatrick’s attorney, James Thomas about the possibility of other defendants taking plea deals.

“First of all you don’t know, in multiple defendant cases you never know, this will not be the first time, there have been cases where people decided they wanted to plead for their own benefit, for their own self-interest, if that does occur then we’ll be prepared to cross-examine them on that.”

At today’s hearing, the Kilpatricks and Ferguson sat at one table, while Mercado and Miller were at another table. WWJ and Fox 2 Legal Analyst Charlie Langton discusses briefly on the separation of the clients.

“There certainly seems to be a division among the defendants, now that is just speculation, a guess as to what could happen.” Langton noted.

An indictment was filed in December alleging extortion, bribery and fraud during Kwame Kilpatrick’s years at city hall. It describes a brazen pattern of corruption in which contractors paid kickbacks or hired a Kilpatrick pal to keep business.

The charges are on top of tax and fraud charges filed last summer against Kwame Kilpatrick. He’s in prison for violating probation from an unrelated case in state court.

WWJ and Fox 2 Legal Analyst Charlie Langton says the case is complicated and cumbersome.

“There’s a lot of evidence in this case.  This is an 80-plus-page indictment, thirty-eight different counts. I mean, they span going back six years, or more, in some of these cases.  I think the attorneys will want to look at all the evidence and analyze their strengths and weaknesses,” Langton said.

Langton believes there will be plea bargains negotiated in this case — particularly for Miller and Mercado.

The federal corruption case against former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his father and three other men won’t be on a fast track.

The next court date is set for April 13.

Kilpatrick’s lawyer has said he’ll fight the charges.
   
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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