Kilpatrick Corruption Trial Wrapping Up In Federal Court

DETROIT (WWJ) – A judge says Wednesday will be the last day of testimony in the corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his father and a city contractor.

Federal Judge Nancy Edmunds sent jurors home early on Tuesday after no defense witnesses were available because of illness and other conflicts. After nearly 70 days of testimony, closing arguments are set for next week.

“There’s light at the end of the tunnel, so we’re just getting ready to do closing arguments and put it in the hands of the jury,” defense attorney Mike Rataj told WWJ City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas.

How is he feeling about the case at this point?

“I still feel the same that I’ve always felt. I felt, you know, that we punched holes in the government’s case … but, ultimately, the jury’s going to have to decide that. What I think doesn’t matter,” Rataj said.

Kwame Kilpatrick, Bernard Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson are accused in what prosecutors have framed as sweeping conspiracy to fix city contracts and shake down businesses. The government said the then-mayor pocketed bribes and also used a nonprofit fund as a slush fund for his personal use.

The two Kilpatricks and Ferguson each faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on racketeering, bribery and tax charges.

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.

(Click here to catch up on the trial).

RELATED: Kilpatrick Released From Jail, Quoting Nelson Mandela

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