Prosecution Case Against Kilpatrick Begins, Confidant Could Take Stand
DETROIT (WWJ) – He headed Detroit’s Information Technology department — and now has information that some believe could sink former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s bid to stay free from prison.
While the name of the lead witness in the government’s corruption case against Kilpatrick is a closely guarded secret, some believe it could be Kilpatrick’s childhood friend and office confidant Derrick Miller, who pleaded guilty a year ago to two federal corruption charges that carry a possible penalty of 10 years in prison. Miller has not yet been sentenced, with officials saying prosecutors are expected to ask for leniency in exchange for his testimony against Kilpatrick.
“He really did have the key to Kwame Kilpatrick’s office door,” said WWJ legal analyst and Talk Radio 1270 host Charlie Langton about Miller.
Jurors begin hearing from witnesses for the prosecution Monday in the federal case against Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick, city contractor Bobby Ferguson and ex-Detroit water department boss Victor Mercado.
There are an estimated 200 witnesses expected to be called in the trial that could last four months.
IRS agent Ronald Sauer was the first witness to take the stand on Monday. He testified that Kilpatrick deposited more than $500,000 into his bank account after he became mayor, starting in 2001.
Witnesses are expected to include names familiar to City Hall watchers in Detroit, and some unfamiliar names that could soon become well-known.
“Carl Kato, who worked at Cobo Hall, we’re going to have a lot about Cobo Hall and the bribes going back and forth to do business there, James Rosendahl with the Synagro project that we’ve heard a lot about, this billion dollar sludge hauling,” Langton said. “And then some new names will surface that we really haven’t heard a lot about: Somebody named Mayland Clift allegedly stuffed $90,000 in a vacuum and then dished it out in two parts to Kwame Kilpatrick.”
All four defendants are facing charges of conspiracy, bribery, and extortion related to a number of city contracts.