Kilpatrick Corruption Case Goes To The Jury
DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – After a five-month trial, jurors have the corruption case of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
Jurors ate lunch Friday and began to assemble their notes from the five-month trial of Kilpatrick and two others. But they won’t start discussing evidence until Tuesday, at the jury’s request. Court is closed Monday due to Presidents’ Day.
Federal Judge Nancy Edmunds again praised jurors, as she’s done a few other times in the trial’s final days. She especially thanked the four alternate jurors who will only participate in deliberations if other jurors drop out.
One of the alternate jurors, a man, asked God to bless everyone in court.
Kilpatrick, his father Bernard and construction contractor Bobby Ferguson are accused of widespread corruption through bribery and extortion. The Kilpatricks are also charged with tax crimes.
Prosecutor Mark Chutkow had the final word, giving a blistering rebuttal to the closing remarks of defense lawyers. He says Kilpatrick engaged in “breathtaking” corruption that robbed Detroiters of honest government. The prosecutor displayed a chart to show jurors the large spikes in cash deposits when Kilpatrick was mayor. Chutkow called it a “tidal wave of green.”
Kwame Kilpatrick’s lawyer said his client got cash gifts from supporters.
WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton said one of the prosecutors did not mince words when he reminded the jury about the alleged deeds of Kilpatrick and Ferguson.
“He talked about how Kilpatrick and Ferguson had phony work orders; that they altered dates on a very slick slide show,” Langton said. “He said that Ferguson couldn’t care less about helping minority contractors — this was just a front to getting Ferguson contracts.
“And [the prosecutor said] there was a pay-to-play system going on in the city of Detroit that netted Ferguson $800,000 in bogus fees and $1.7 million for no work,” Langton said.
Ferguson and the Kilpatricks each face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
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