DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The corruption trial of Kwame Kilpatrick resumed Tuesday with one fewer defendant — and the former Detroit mayor didn’t waste any time weighing in on the proceedings.
The trial was put on hold two weeks ago while defense lawyer Gerald Evelyn recovered from an illness that required him to be carried out of the trial on a stretcher. During the break, former Detroit water boss Victor Mercado pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
Jurors weren’t informed about the guilty plea Tuesday. Federal Judge Nancy Edmunds told them only that Mercado is “no longer” part of the trial. She said it has no role in the guilt or innocence of Kilpatrick, his father Bernard and Kilpatrick pal Bobby Ferguson and they are not to speculate as to his absence.
“I have absolute faith in this jury that they will follow the instructions,” Kilpatrick’s attorney Jim Thomas said.
The three remaining defendants are accused of conspiring to rig bids on public contracts and shake down businesses to benefit Ferguson and share the spoils. Kwame Kilpatrick also faces tax and fraud charges.
The ex-mayor posted on his Facebook page Monday, “Back in Detroit! Strapping on my boots. Time to go back to work on my freedom. Plus, I need the boots for all the bull excrement.”
Kwame Kilpatrick resigned from office in 2008 and pleaded guilty to obstructing justice by lying in a civil case about having sex with an aide. He subsequently served 14 months in prison for violating his probation in that case.
Sentencing for Mercado won’t take place until after the trial, which is expected to stretch into the new year.
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