DETROIT (WWJ) – Jury selection picks back up on Thursday in the federal corruption trial against former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Nearly 200 prospective jurors will be scrutinized by attorneys.
Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick, long-time friend Bobby Ferguson, and former water department chief Victor Mercado are all charged with racketeering, bribery and extortion.
Wayne State law professor Peter Henning told WWJ Newsradio 950 this will be a complex case to prove.
“Certainly the focus is going to be on the former mayor, but it’s up to the government to prove the guilt of each of the other three defendants,” he said. “So, to the extent that the government can, it’s gonna have to weave a story that includes all four of them and show how they interacted with each other.”
Henning said that only is the selection process a tough one, but the commitment from jury members is serious, as the trial is expected to last 18 weeks.
“If you’re talking about going into, say, November, people have travel plans; it’s very hard to miss that much work,” said Henning. “It’s gonna be a real challenge for Judge Edmunds to get a jury seated that’s going to be able to listen to the entirety of this case.”
The indictment describes a brazen pay-to-play scheme in which Kilpatrick and his father took kickbacks and bribes to steer city business to certain contractors, especially Ferguson. Prosecutors call it the “Kilpatrick enterprise.”
Kilpatrick, who denies all wrongdoing, has said he doubts he can get a fair trial in Detroit.
WWJ Newsradio 950’s Vickie Thomas will be in the courtroom on Thursday. Stay with WWJ and CBSDetroit.com for the latest.