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Detroit Corruption Trial: Focus On Kilpatrick’s Time In State Legislature

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Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow talks to jurors during opening arguments of the Kwame Kilpatrick federal corruption trial. (Art: Carole Kabrin)

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow talks to jurors during opening arguments of the Kwame Kilpatrick federal corruption trial. (Art: Carole Kabrin)

vickiethomas2 Vickie Thomas
Vickie Thomas is the City Beat Reporter for WWJ Newsradio 950. She was...
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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The final day of testimony this week in the federal corruption trial against ex-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Friday’s testimony focused on Kilpatrick’s time before he was the Detroit mayor.

The prosecution stated that Kwame Kilpatrick used his power as a state lawmaker to push through the legislature two grants which totaled $800,000. Bobby Ferguson’s non-profit received $500,000 and Kilpatrick’s wife, Carlita, received $37,000 from a second grant.

During Thursday’s testimony; a former executive of the Vanguard Community Development Corporation–said that Carlita Kilpatrick was paid but did little work.

“You messed up,” said Donna Williams of Vanguard, referring to the words that Kwame Kilpatrick spoke to her after he was ‘called out on the carpet’ by the state budget director over a $300,000 grant that was supposed to be used to help poor children in the north-end neighborhood.

Kilpatrick’s wife, Carlita, received over $37,000 for doing very little work according to Williams who sent the invoice to the state.

“She was nervous,” said WWJ’s Legal Analyst Charlie Langton. “She didn’t like the call from Kwame Kilpatrick.”

Kilpatrick reportedly got upset after learning that Vanguard documented paying his wife.

Langton spoke to WWJ about the angle prosecutors are most likely setting up for their case.

“The prosecution is doing a good job in trying to set up what they call the “Kilpatrick enterprise”, and it started before he became Mayor of Detroit, while he was in the legislature,” said Langton. “It’s almost like Kwame Kilpatrick was learning the ropes – finding out where the money is and how can I get the money.”

“I think what the government is doing – is setting up Kilpatrick as the kingpin in this operation,” said Langton. “He is the one that makes the calls, puts the deals together, and then filters out the money to other people, like his wife.”

The defense argued that there was nothing illegal about the grants.

The Kilpatricks are accused of shaking down contractors who wanted business or favors from Detroit city hall. The government calls it the “Kilpatrick enterprise.”

Kilpatrick is charged with fraud, bribery, tax crimes and a racketeering conspiracy. His father, Bernard Kilpatrick, Detroit contractor Bobby Ferguson and the city’s former water boss Victor Mercado are also on trial in Detroit federal court.

All four defendants have pleaded not guilty to charges of racketeering, bribery and extortion. Kilpatrick was mayor until fall 2008 when he resigned in the unrelated text-messaging scandal.

The trial is expected to last four months, stretching into 2013.

Read up on the story, here. 

(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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