Live Blog: Kwame Kilpatrick Trial Day 69

Live Blog: Kwame Kilpatrick Trial Day 69

Updated:
  • Latest Development in the Kilpatrick Corruption TrialMore>>

  • Bobby Ferguson sentenced to 21 years in prison

    Bobby Ferguson sentenced to 21 years in prison

    Friday, October 11 2013 3:20 PM EDT2013-10-11 19:20:27 GMT
    Bobby Ferguson, a former city contractor and longtime friend of ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, has been sentenced to 21 years in federal prison for his role in a public corruption case.
    Bobby Ferguson, a former city contractor and longtime friend of ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, has been sentenced to 21 years in federal prison for his role in a public corruption case.
  • Kwame Kilpatrick sentenced to 28 years in prison

    Kwame Kilpatrick sentenced to 28 years in prison

    Thursday, October 10 2013 9:33 PM EDT2013-10-11 01:33:28 GMT
    A federal judge sentenced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Thursday to 28 years in prison for his role in a public corruption scandal that cost the city millions and ended a career for the once promising politician.
    A federal judge sentenced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Thursday to 28 years in prison for his role in a public corruption scandal that cost the city millions and ended a career for the once promising politician.
  • Judge: Ex-Mayor Kilpatrick must pay $4.7 million

    Judge: Ex-Mayor Kilpatrick must pay $4.7 million

    Tuesday, December 10 2013 8:04 PM EST2013-12-11 01:04:30 GMT
    A federal judge has granted prosecutors' request and has ordered imprisoned ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to pay $4.7 million in restitution.
    A federal judge has granted prosecutors' request and has ordered imprisoned ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to pay $4.7 million in restitution.
DETROIT -

Judge Edmunds says thank you Mr. Bullotta and tells the jury we don't have quite enough time to start another closing argument, have a nice day, don't talk about the trial, and see you tomorrow.

And you can see M.L. Elrick on Fox 2 News tonight with the highlights of Mr. Bullotta's closing statements. Plus, he'll have his unique take on Kilpatrick Inc. on MyFox Detroit.Com.

2:19

Bullotta says a conspiracy is just two people who agree to commit a crime. A RICO conspiracy is when people make it an ongoing enterprise. You saw text messages showing the defendants were going to meet at least twice a month.

I would submit to you the evidence is overwhelming. Ask yourself if Kwame Kilpatrick was not a part of this conspiracy could Bobby and Bernard have held up these contractors? The could not have done that. Not without the Mayor.

Bullotta asks if the jurors remember Thomas asking Mary Lannoye the former state budget director if she had a lot of power. And what did she say, that she had a lot of responsibility.

Kilpatrick Inc was wrong and criminal, and I ask you to do the only thing you can do, find the defendants guilty.

2:12

Synagro, 1 billion dollars. John Rosendall testified the Mayor, in the basement of the Manoogian, told him to hire his Dad.

Bullotta plays Bernard's phone message, I need call, vacation or no mo%$#ING vacation.

Mr Shea wants you to believe Bernard was just a consultant. Does a consultant threaten to go to his son the Mayor and blow the deal up. Do they scold you when you try to pay then in pubic? So you need to give them cases of Cristal Champagne, talk to them in parking lots in case the FBI is listening?

Bernard was no consultant, he was an extort-er, the only reason Rosendall paid him was because this was a billion dollar contract.

2:08

You heard Miller say he went to Cobo Hall to get money from Karl Kado. It was bribery and the Mayor knew that.

And Kado gave Bernard money.

Bernard:" you have to call Pavledes and give OK for Karl to deal with the electrical in June."

Where is a single invoice? Karl was worried about saying no to Bernard Kilpatrick.

Bullotta show letter from FBI telling him he was under investigation. What did Bernard do? He patted Kado down. Is that what a consultant does, pat his client down?

Says Bernard wanted to be paid or it would be years before Kado got the money the city owned him.

2:02

Bullotta is pausing now so a juror can take a break. He seems ready to go...

Bobby Ferguson came to court to get his tickets dismissed, flanked by bobby guards, we know you live in the city and we know you have kids. A direct threat. He dismissed the tickets because he was scared.

If a police officer is scared do you think a guy like Avanish Rachmale, from a small farming village in India is not going to be scared?

Bullotta puts up a picture of Andrea Cunningham, who got a $30 million communications grant from the pension board. Cunningham said he got the work, pay Bernard, that's how it worked. And Kwame asked him if he was taking care of his Dad.

You heard Derrick Miller, Kwame's best friend from ninth grade. He had a bribery scheme planned with a real estate company so when the city sold a property a guy named Jim Cook would get a commission. The only problem was the City didn't have a contract with that company. You heard Miller say he told Kwame if you pick Jones, Lang LaSalle it would be good financially.

You heard him say Kwame didn't even know what the money was for. Miller would tell him and Kwame would say cool. That's a bribe.

For Asian Village, Miller testified Kwame asked him to see if he could get some cash from the Asian village guys. He did. And Miller testified he gave Kwame the cash in a bathroom.

1:51

Heilman Rec Center, Johnson Akinwusi, when his business was drying up he asked his friend at Fashion International what he should do. The guy told him pay for the suits on layaway. Akinwusi did, and got invited to bid, but then got a visit from Bobby's guy who told him Bobby wanted in on the contract. No deal without me was rampant in the city of Detroit.

"If it didn't pay bobby, the job would not go." Bullotta says Beatty greased the skids for the Heilman Rec Center.

Says members of the Kilpatrick Inc scheme took care of each other. Did this help the people of the city? LaJuan Wilkes testified Bobby did a terrible job. But she made a big mistake, she complained to her boss. And her boss called her in to a meeting with Bobby and Bobby demeaned her, made here fear for her job.

You heard a police officer testify he gave Bobby tickets for environmental violations, rats were running rampant. Instead of paying for tickets, Ferguson showed up in court flanked by Kwame's body guards. It was after these tickets that Bobby got appointed to the board that was supposed to clean up Detroit, when he was one of the guys dumping trash.

1:41

The court room is packed as well. Reporters fill at least two rows. The whole defense and investigation team for the government is in the Room as well. The Agents had been running in and out during the trial.

"All Rise." Court is in session, and the myriad conversations dropped to silence in a hear beat.

Bullotta is waiting at the podium. Agent Paszkiewicz is seated to his right, both facing the jury. They moved the podium from the center of the room, turned it toward the jury box. Bullotta is now about 5 feet away from the Jury.

He's starting the second half with Tony Soave asking the Mayor "what's the holdup" on the Inland waters contract. Bullotta says the Mayor told Soave you have the wrong contractor. Who's the right one? Bobby Ferguson.

Bullotta says Soave had the former head of DWSD on his team, but had to kick him out. Says Kathleen McCann, Soave's VP told us this was a forced marriage, that he wanted to be paid for work he didn't even do.

Says Soave went back to the Mayor and asked if Bobby was still the Mayor's guy. You bet.

Says McCann testified she was breathing air thick with threats, and took notes, and testified that some day she'd be telling this story. How prophetic, Bullotta sighs.

1:27

The overflow room is packed and the crowd had been sitting in rapt attention until the judge called for the break. And then they broke out in a buzz of conversation. The atmosphere is like the excited buzz around a water cooler where the topic is serious but just shy of death and destruction.

There are at least 30 people in the overflow room gallery discussing what they just heard. Most are in suits and ties or business dress, a few, are dressed in work clothes or casual clothes more suited to the work-a-day job. More blue collar.

There have been a scattering of busier than normal days during the testimony but nothing like this.

1:20

Bullotta says in one case the Kilpatrick Enterprise wasn't satisfied with one contract, they wanted Bobby to get both. Your heard Kim Harris says he was told to pull the DLZ Detroit headquarters certification. You heard him says his boss told him the mayor wants it done.

Bullotta says the revocation was back dated, even, to before the contract was bid.

There was a cost to this, $1.6 million over the next contract.

Judge Edmunds calls for a ten minute break. Bullotta was on a roll. He is speaking in an even tone, but with an underlying passion, you get a sense of righteous indignation, and quiet outrage.

And we'll see if he can keep this up when he comes back after the break.

1:15

If this was just regular business, why did Bobby need to alter documents, like the one to Johnson Consuling (Good at making up invoices, bad at spelling), a made up invoice.

You heard Hardiman say he rushed to give Bobby cash, this was extortion.

On the East Side Water mains you heard why Bobby couldn't be on the Lakeshore bid. Because Bobby was already on the West Side contract. Bobby couldn't be on both so he put in his proxy company. Bobby demanded Lakeshore pay Xcel $800,000, they didn't want to, but Bobby Ferguson told Rachmale "I' will shut down the job."

Says Bernard Parker testified Bobby told him to go to Lakeshore and tell them they won't get any more work until Bobby gets paid. Why did Rachmale and Hardiman pay all that money if they weren't afraid. After the Mayor was gone, you heard Hardiman say it was easy to say no.

1:10

Bobby Ferguson was Kwame Kilpatrick's $18 million man. You heard Bobby's lawyer talk about wanting to help minority companies. The only color that mattered to the conspirators was green.

Bullotta says Bobby told Tom Hardiman of Lakeshore Engineering "It's still gotta go by the Mayor's desk." You heard Avanish Rachmale agree to give Bobby ten percent even though they didn't need Bobby.

Look at what the Mayor said. "Right they know I'm holding it." The contract. And you hard Derrick Miller testify he told Victor Mercado to cancel that contract.

10 and 5, Bullotta holds up his hands, says a $10 million and $5 million dollar contract. That's what Lakeshore lost. Lakeshore learned there lesson, 10 and 5. The next contract, the outfalls contract, Lakeshore won that contract. You heard about the meeting. You can ease-drop on that meeting by looking at the text messages. Bobby tells Miller, "no deal without meal, (Hardiman) gotten smart, I am just sitting here listening."

You heard Hardiman says it was a simple formula, 5 million canceled, 10 million canceled, 20 million won. Simple formula. They paid Ferguson for doing nothing, why, 10 million, 5 million.

1:00

Emma Bell, couldn't drive, wanted to see the Mayor for 5 minutes. Why didn't she just call him on the phone. You know why, she was giving him cash.

Bullotta says let's talk about homeless shelter tycoon John Rutherford. Says Kwame solicited money, $10,000 for suits in Dubai. Says Rutherford wasn't Kwame's friend,he wanted a Casino on the river front. Says when you're a public official you now the payer is expecting some thing. This is Bribery.

Obstruction of justice? Bobby tried to funnel $40,000 to Kwame's campaign. You heard them says that Bobby tried to get them to lie to the Grand Jury.

12:55

Bullotta brings up the embroidered golf bag, the check from the Civic Fund to pay for his personal furniture at the Manoogian.

Bullotta says Bobby gave 75,000 to the fund, not out of the goodness of his heart but to share money with a co-conspirator.

Says when you concoct a scheme to obtain money under false pretenses, like that you tell donors that you're not going to pay campaign finances. If you use the mail, that's wire fraud, if you send a fax that's wire fraud, Fed ex records, same thing.

Bullotta says he said from the beginning Kwame was using his office as he personal account. The way you tell, look at the bank statements. Says before he was in office his bank statements show he was just a regular guy. After, something changed, shows the bank statements and says look at all this cash, this wasn't from his paycheck, this was cash paid to his personal account. There can be no mystery that Kwame went above and beyond the call of duty to get Bobby contracts, that's because Bobby was sharing the spoils.

Text: "safe in the room is in the closet were you hand the coats.

You heard from an eyewitness, Clift, that delivered $90,000. Why did Mahlon Clift have to take 90,000 from Bobby, hide it in his vacuum cleaner, then fly down to Texas. Why did that have to happen, you know why, theses were the spoils of Kilpatrick Incorporated.

12:54

Bullotta is starting with the state grants the government says Kwame steered to Bobby.

He also says the Carlita didn't teach a single student with the grant Kwame gave to Vanguard for helping kids in their neighborhood.

Now he's moving on to the Kilpatrick Civic Fund. He says people gave to the Fund to give back to the City. Says Kwame knew better than to use it for his campaign. Tape of Kwame at the debate saying "it's not allowed by law."

Bullotta says Derrick Miller explained why they thought they could get away with using Fund money for the Campaign, because nobody could check, because the fund was a 501c-4.

Bullotta puts up the pictures of the witnesses who testified they got paid for political work out of the Fund.

Bullotta says kwame paid for Yoga lessons, down payment on a Cadillac, a luxury trip to Colorado. Says Jim Thomas tried to says he was on official business. Puts up the Mayor's calendar that says, "Gone Fishin'."

12:39

"All rise." Court is back in session, and it's packed. The gallery is full, so is the overflow roomMike Bullotta is at the podium. He says our democracy depends on our public officials working for us... and what Kwame Kilpatrick did was make the city his personal profit machine... Kwame's deal was... "there was no deal without me." That was there mantra... that was there scheme." It cost the citizens of Detroit and the people of Michigan. Some

Bullotta shows the text message where Bobby said let's get "us"Money.

Kwame was different than the other defendants, he was a public official. He shattered hope.

Bullotta says Kilpatrick Incorporated didn't start when Kwame became Mayor, it started when he was a state Rep. That money was supposed to go to poor kids and senior citizens but how did Bobby spend it. He built himself a chill room. Bullotta shows the executive office on the screen. Says when the state wanted an accounting Kwame got involved. Says when they did turn in documentation the invoices had been altered.

Bobby didn't just alter invoices. Sometimes he made then up out of whole cloth. He just made them up.

12:30

The picture is back up in the overflow room and we're getting ready for the Government's closing arguments.

10:57

Judge Edmunds says that concludes jury instructions. She'll start hearing the governments closing arguments at 12:30. The jury heads out to lunch.

10:55

Judge Edmunds says there may have been different conspirators at different times, that a conspirator didn't have to have a significant role but knowingly joined the conspiracy. Says it's entirely up to the jury to decide if a particular defendant participated.

Tax charges now, false tax returns. Must have willfully signed and submitted a tax return, that they intended to willfully evade or defeat the tax.

Says the jury must decide if Kwame Kilpatrick willfully acted to evade tax. Says the government doesn't have to prove the exact amount of the tax owed.

Judge Edmunds says that concludes the elements of the crimes.

Special evidentiary Matters. Says the defendants don't have to testify and the jury can't hold that against them. The the jury alone decides which witnesses to believe.

Says they heard about plea agreements, that it's permissible to make such promises but they should take that into consideration, that they must not convict on that testimony alone, on unsupported testimony unless they believe the testimony beyond a reasonable doubt.

Previous convictions, Judge Edmunds says this is not evidence on anything else, only offered to help them to weigh the credibility of the witness.

10:43

Judge Edmunds says before she dives back in she wants to let them know why she gives jury instructions before final arguments. Says this is so they can tie the elements together as they listen to the closings.

Judge Edmunds move to county one, Racketeering or RICO. All three defendants, that they knowingly conducted an enterprise, the Kilpatrick Enterprise. That it was an enterprise.

That is would affect interstate commerce, That it existed as posed in the indictment, must find that it was an ongoing organization, must show an ongoing association of people, that they worked to achieve a common purpose, had a framework to make decisions, only needed enough organization to show the members coordinated to achieve goals.

That they functioned as a continuing unit to achieve goals, could start and stop, go in spurts.

Not every allegation in the indictment needs to be proved.

Not required to prove that any defendant had a formal position, or participated in all activities of the enterprise. But that the defendant aged to participate, intentionally performed acts, or the he or another conspirator would intentionally commit 2 or more racketeering acts.

3 things.

Defendants agreed to commit 2 or more acts of extortion or bribery.

The Acts had a meaningful connection to the enterprise, distinguishing characteristics. Can be related even though not similar. Like if both acts were solely possible due to a conspirators position in the enterprise.

Must have extended over a substantial period of time, a long term association. The regular way of conducting the enterprise.

Judge Edmunds says the jury may consider both the lawful and unlawful activities of the enterprise. Says these are a violation of both federal and Michigan law.

Says in addition to extortion and mail and wire fraud they also include obstruction of justice.

That they corruptly intimidated or threatened another person.

That person acted to influence delay or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding.

Judge Edmunds says several charges also violate Michigan Laws. Making malicious threats to extort money and bribery of a public official.

10:25

""All Rise." Court is in session. The jury is filing in. They must all be wearing sneakers this morning, they're very quiet..

10:05

Mail and Wire Fraud:

These are counts 18 through 27 and deal with the Kilpatrick civic Fund. The checks received and the letters sent out. Judge Edmunds says the jury must find that the intent was to deceive or cheat. To do an act with knowledge that to sue the mail furthers the scheme.

They must find on all criteria and if there is reasonable doubt about any element the must find Kwame Kilpatrick not guilty.

And Judge Edmunds calls for a break. The Jury files out. The attorneys and defendants are now heading out to the hall. And we'll be back in 20 minutes.

9:56

Judge Edmunds moves on to counts 5 and 15, both extortion counts. 5 is Bobby and Kwame and the Oak-wood Pump station. 15 is Bernard and the Sludge contract.

Says the government doesn't have to prove anything except the last act to commit the crime.

16 and 17, the bribery charges. Bobby and Kwame. $90,000 and $75,000 bribes.

Government must prove that Kwame was the Mayor, solicited something of value, did so corruptly, was more than $5,000 and got more that $10,000 from the government.

Parties agreed that Kwame was mayor and got more than $10,000. Judge Edmund says a person acts corruptly when they expect a reward in connection to the act.

Says the government doesn't have to prove that the official actually acted, and or if the bribe was given after the action was taken. And intended to be influenced.

In order to charge Bobby, that the crime of Bribery was committed, that Bobby helped commit the crime and intended to commit the crimes. Just being there and knowing about it was not enough, but that Bobby did something to help and encourage the crime.

9:48

That the defendant knowingly obtained property, or aided and abetted, or knew that a person gave the money because of the extortion, and that interstate commerce was affected or could be affected.

Judge Edmunds says the government didn't have to prove that the person actually took the action, or that there was a specific promise at the time of payment, only that the official was expected to take action, whether they intended to take action or not. Only that it was expected the official would take action.

Fear of economic harm. To get property unfairly or unjustly, if the person experiences fear or anxiety, that they would suffer financially or not get further work.

Says they can't see into a person's mind but must find that fear was reasonable under the circumstances, that it would reasonable be a parts of their state of mind.

Judge Edmunds says Bobby and Kwame are also charged with aiding and abetting each other in these counts. Says the jury doesn't have to find that the person committed the crime. Only that a crime was committed, the defendants helped each other, or encouraged each other.

Says proof that a defendant knew about the crime is not enough, they have to find the defendant did something to further the crime.

9:35

About witness testimony,: did the witness see the vents, how was their memory, did the witness appear to be honest or lying, that the witness had anything to gain or lose, or reason for testimony that might give them a reason for lying. As you may recall, all the defense attorneys spent a lot of time talking about each witness' plead deal.

Number of witnesses, says do not give any importance to the number of witness, only the testimony they gave.

Lawyers objections: Judge Edmunds says they should not hold lawyers objections against either side.

Says the jury's job is only the crimes with which the defendants are charged, and not to consider the guilt or innocence of others.

Says they must decide on each individual charge. Says with the exception of count one, their decision must be based on the individual charge for each defendant. Says she'll explain count one further, but adds that the jury must decide if each defendant agreed to be part of the enterprise. This is the RICO charge.

9:27

Judge Edmunds says they have two main goals; to decide what the facts are, to apply the facts, and render a verdict.

Judge Edmunds tells them to decide fairly and not let themselves be swayed in any way. Decide for themselves.. She tells the jury that the presumption of innocence stays with the defendants unless the Government has proven them guilty. They must find them not guilty unless the government has proven them guilty beyond reasonable doubt. So convincing that they would not hesitate to make the most important decision in their lives.

Judge Edmunds now explains what is evidence. Lawyers statements are not, nor questions, only the exhibits she has let them see, testimony of witnesses, Says they are bound by their oath to base their decision only on the evidence.

Says they should use their common sense to reach their conclusion.

Says direct evidence is testimony of an eye witness. Circumstantial evidence is a chain of events, like if someone comes in with a wet umbrella they might assume it's raining.

9:19

Last Friday the Government, Defense, and even the Judge, were wrangling over the definition of Racketeering. As Fox 2's Charlie Langton pointed out, if all three are trying to come up with a definition, then the jury is likely to have it's own questions.

"All rise." Judge Edmunds says be seated, then says, well don't be seated the jury is coming in. We can't see them but we can hear them entering the jury box. Kwame is standing ramrod straight behind his chair with his hands in his pockets.

Judge Edmunds greets the jury, says she hopes they didn't have to shovel too much snow. Now she tells the jury that one of the counts of the indictment. Count 39 against Bernard Kilpatrick has been dismissed. That's a tax charge for filing a false return.

Judge Edmunds now tells the jury that they'll be taking breaks at odd times because she doesn't want to interrupt someone's closing argument. She also says since the government has the burden of proof they'll get a rebuttal at the end.

Now Judge Edmunds is telling the jury they've been great, with no one calling in sick. Getting here despite the bad weather, and "thank you thank you thank you" Says people find it incredible that there are still 16 jurors after all these months and no one has missed a day. "thank you for your hard work."

9:07

The Attorneys are out of chambers. We're just waiting on Judge Nancy Edmunds now.

8:59

The picture is up in the overflow room, the defendants are in the court room, but the attorneys are not in sight. They might be in the Judge's chambers going over jury instructions. We expect the Jury will get those instructions this morning.

8:36

Good Morning from the Theodore J. Levin Federal Court House in blustery downtown Detroit.

Ken Martinek is Senior Producer-Investigations for Fox 2 News. You can contact him at ken.martinek@foxtv.com

 

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