DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A juror’s personal matter means there will be a day off in the middle of closing arguments in the corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
Federal court spokesman Rod Hansen said no arguments are scheduled for Wednesday. He didn’t disclose the nature of the personal matter.
Kwame Kilpatrick turned Detroit’s City Hall into a “private profit machine” when he was mayor by rigging city contracts, demanding bribes and even stealing money meant for the needy, a prosecutor said during closing arguments Monday.
Kilpatrick spent $840,000 more than he earned as Detroit’s mayor from 2002 until 2008, Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Michael Bullotta told jurors as he summed up the evidence the government presented during the five-month trial.
As Bullotta spoke, jurors were shown images of checks documenting the alleged corruption and damaging text messages between Kilpatrick and a co-defendant, Bobby Ferguson, whose construction company landed contracts worth millions during the Kilpatrick years.
“They turned the mayor’s office into Kilpatrick Incorporated, a private profit machine,” the prosecutor said.
“No deal without me – that was their mantra, those were their words, that was their scheme,” Bullotta said. “They controlled city contracts, not for the good of the people but to line their own pockets.”
Attorneys for Kilpatrick, his father Bernard and Bobby Ferguson will speak to jurors Tuesday and Thursday, followed by deliberations. (More from closing arguments here).
Earlier Monday, jurors received a critical, detailed set of instructions from a judge before hearing closing arguments in the corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his father and a city contractor.
Federal Judge Nancy Edmunds was going over the charges and explaining the laws that must be applied during deliberations.
The 75-page document, given by Edmunds to jurors, concluded with the following: “Let me finish up by repeating something that I said to you earlier. Nothing that I have said or done during this trial was meant to influence your decision in any way. You decide for yourselves if the government has proved each defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt as to each of the charges.”
– View a copy of the jury instructions (.pdf format) –
Federal court spokesman Rod Hansen said no arguments are scheduled for Wednesday due to a juror’s “personal matter.” Arguments are expected to wrap up on Thursday.
The charges against Kilpatrick range from a racketeering conspiracy to tax crimes. The government says he shook down contractors and his own political fundraiser and turned a nonprofit fund into a slush fund for travel and personal luxuries.
The jury heard nearly 70 half-days of testimony. Some allegations go back to Kilpatrick’s time as a state lawmaker before he was elected mayor in 2001. He denies any wrongdoing.
Kwame Kilpatrick, Bernard Kilpatrick and Ferguson could each serve up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
– Click here to catch up on the trial –
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