(WXYZ) - The Kilpatrick corruption trial resumed Thursday – and the focus was entirely on the former mayor’s father.
Federal prosecutors are trying to show the jury that Bernard Kilpatrick cheated on his taxes.
It was a day of IRS Agents and accountants testifying at length about Bernard Kilpatrick’s tax forms and bank accounts.
It may not have been the most riveting testimony the jury in the Kilpatrick corruption case has had to hear on this 47th day of trial, but the tax charges are a key part of the case against the former mayor’s father.
Federal prosecutors allege Bernard Kilpatrick cheated the IRS by failing to pay more than $184,000 in taxes for three different years.
Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his father, and his friend Bobby Ferguson are on trial, accused of running a criminal enterprise out of city hall.
On Thursday, the jury heard from the accountant who prepared Bernard Kilpatrick’s business and personal tax returns – and they also heard from her boss, Alan C. Young.
“We did what we were supposed to do, so it’s up to them now to figure out what is what,” Young told reporters outside the federal courthouse.
Both accountants said they did not know about the $123,700 in cash that was deposited into Kilpatrick’s bank account for one of the tax years in question.
But defense attorney John Shea was quick to point out that the accountants would have no way of knowing whether those deposits came from loans, gifts, gambling winnings, an inheritance or other things that wouldn’t be considered income.
“There are concepts of intent, and knowledge, and willfulness, that the jury is going to have to wrestle with when it comes to determining if someone has committed a crime, as opposed to it being miscommunication,” Shea said.
Shea painted his client as unorganized when it came to getting his materials to his accountants, as opposed to being an alleged tax cheat.
“If there’s an error was it a material error? If there’s an error does it actually relate to unreported income? As opposed to unreported something else that’s not income? Every element of a false tax return case is in play here,” said Shea.
But the IRS agent said she did account for Kilpatrick’s extensive gambling winnings and losses, and that her estimate of the $184,000 in taxes owed was very “conservative.” Agent Rowena Schuch told the jury, “It appears he did not report all of his income.”
Another key issue: why the accounting firm didn’t have a signed authorization form from Bernard Kilpatrick to electronically file his taxes for two of the tax years in question.
Legal experts say for these kinds of tax charges – the feds have to show that Kilpatrick knew what was supposed to be in the tax return and that he filed in falsely on purpose.
It sounds like the defense will use the missing authorization forms to suggest Kilpatrick had no idea what was being sent in to the IRS.
Also, former Kilpatrick aide Derrick Miller is expected to take the stand on Monday. Miller was once a co-defendant in the case, but pleaded guilty in exchange for his testimony against his former childhood friend, Kwame Kilpatrick.
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