Jury to decide fate of the Kilpatricks and Ferguson - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Jury to decide fate of the Kilpatricks and Ferguson

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It's been more than three years since a Grand Jury indicted Kwame Kilpatrick on criminal charges.

New counts and new people were added to the case by the time federal corruption trial started in September.

Lawyers spent five months grilling more than 90 witnesses. Their last chance to win over jurors comes next week.

In the meantime, how much prison time could Kilpatrick and company face?

The feds, led by prosecutors Mark Chutkow, Michael Bullotta and FBI agent Bob Beeckman, say Kilpatrick, his father Bernard and their good buddy Bobby Ferguson ran a racket out of city hall

They say the three men used Kilpatrick's power to suck millions out of city contractors.

The former mayor faces 30 criminal counts, ranging from tax evasion to bribery to extortion to racketeering.

Ferguson faces 11 counts, ranging from bribery to extortion to racketeering.

Bernard Kilpatrick faces 4 counts, ranging from tax evasion to racketeering.

The racketeering, or RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) charges are the most serious and most difficult to prove.

Fox 2's Charlie Langton says "if a judge has a hard time deciding if RICO charges are legitimate, it's even harder for a jury."

Jurors can decide to convict on some, all or none of the counts.

Each charge carries a different penalty

  • A conviction for filing a false tax return carries a sentence of up to 3 years in prison
  • Tax evasion is up to 5 years
  • Bribery, up to 10 years
  • Extortion, up to 20 years
  • And racketeering, or RICO, up to 20 years.

Defense attorneys wanted some of the counts dismissed, but judge Nancy Edmunds ruled there was enough circumstantial evidence to let the jury decide on all counts.

Langton: "The government so far is in the lead, but it's up to the jury."

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