Day 2: Kwame Kilpatrick Defense Presents Final Arguments (page 3)
9:10 a.m.: Kilpatrick’s attorney says, “we came in here with a lot of baggage … He (Kilpatrick) has been demonized in the media.” He says entire case rests on the credibility of witnesses and says jury has to decide if witnesses were hiding something or “are in fact a truthful person.”
9 a.m. Looking much jollier than he did Monday, Kilpatrick takes a seat at the defense table, laughing and slapping the back of attorney Jim Thomas. He turns and chats, laughing and smiling, with people in the court audience.
The judge announces some members of the jury feel ill so they’ve been moved to seats closer to the restroom.
The attorneys for Kilpatrick and his co-defendants have to rebut nearly 70 days of testimony from witnesses ranging from business owners to former associates who claim the former mayor and his closest allies used his office as a for-profit enterprise benefitting only themselves.
Prosecutor Michael Bullotta went through a greatest hits-style two-hour closing argument Monday where he showed video, text messages and reminders of the most striking testimony in the case.
Included were allegations that Cobo Hall contractor Karl Kado knew he had to deliver $10,000 cash to the mayor’s office anytime he got a call from Kilpatrick asking him to stop by. Another businessman seeking City Hall contracts said he got no interest from the Kilpatrick Administration until he paid $4,800 to get the mayor’s suits out of layaway — and was then invited to bid on a contract.
But there was a catch, he testified, because he soon learned Kilpatrick’s longtime best friend Bobby Ferguson had to be included as a subcontractor for him to win any work.
Bullotta also highlighted testimony from former Kilpatrick pal Derrick Miller and fundraiser and family friend Emma Bell, who both laid out a system of kickbacks and bribes they said they had to follow when Kilpatrick was in office. Testimony detailed cash delivered in a vacuum cleaner bag, taken from shoes, stored in Bell’s bra and delivered in the bathroom of a local Chinese restaurant, among other oddballs.
Bernard Kilpatrick was part of the mix, some testified, saying they had to pay him, too, to keep working in Detroit. The FBI secretly taped a contractor meeting with Bernard Kilpatrick and getting berated by the former mayor’s father for delivering cash in a public parking lot.
Kwame Kilpatrick, Bernard Kilpatrick and Ferguson are charged with an array of federal mail and tax fraud, corruption and racketeering charges. The jury is expected to get the case Thursday.