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Taxpayer-Funded Jury Adviser Sought In Detroit Corruption Case

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vickiethomas2 Vickie Thomas
Vickie Thomas is the City Beat Reporter for WWJ Newsradio 950. She was...
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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - A defense lawyer involved in the corruption case against former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick wants taxpayers to pay up to $2,400 for a jury consultant.

John Minock, the attorney for ex-Detroit water boss Victor Mercado, asked late Thursday for court approval to hire a $100-an-hour jury consultant for up to 24 hours.

Minock said the court already has approved spending $2,400 on a jury consultant for another unnamed defendant in the case, but Mercado wants his own, The Detroit News reported.

The expense is in addition to taxpayer-funded legal teams for Kilpatrick, his father, Bernard Kilpatrick and Mercado. All have pleaded not guilty.

Minock says Mercado, who was paid $230,000 as head of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, is indigent.

“The assistance of an expert on jury selection in reviewing the juror questionnaires and consulting with counsel will be of significant value to counsel and will help save the expenditure of attorney time,” Minock wrote.

“This is a huge complex indictment. The government plans on calling hundreds of witnesses and introducing hundreds of exhibits. The time it  takes to prepare to defend against that is largely determined by (prosecutors), not the defense,” he continued.

The corruption trial is scheduled to being Sept. 6 in federal court. The 38-count indictment alleges corruption regarding city contracts totaling at least $100 million, involving racketeering conspiracy, extortion, fraud, bribery and tax evasion. The charges carry penalties ranging from three years in prison to  30 years.

Prosecutors call it the “Kilpatrick enterprise,” a brazen pay-to-play scheme in which Kilpatrick and his father took kickbacks and bribes to steer city business to certain contractors, especially pal Bobby Ferguson and Mercado — robbing taxpayers of millions of dollars.

Stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBSDetroit.com for continuing coverage.

MORE: Former Detroit Mayor: I’m Not Going Back To Prison

Indictment Alleges City Corruption, Bribery, Fraud

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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