(WXYZ) - Federal prosecutors unleashed a slew of text messages in the Kilpatrick corruption trial, as the defense also fought back against an IRS agent’s testimony.
The FBI agent who spearheaded the massive investigation into the so-called Kilpatrick Enterprise read dozens of text messages to the jury Tuesday.
The texts covered everything from Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson discussing housing project deals to chatter about messing with city permits for other business owners.
The feds are likely using the texts to try to show the defendants were conspiring together as part of their alleged criminal enterprise.
In one message, from 2003, Kilpatrick’s former chief of staff Christine Beatty is questioning the mayor about why their friend Ferguson wasn’t getting in on particular contract:
Beatty writes: WHY NOT BOBBY IN THIS?
Kilpatrick says: BOBBY WANTED TO STRATEGICALLY LOSE A MAJOR BID. HE WILL BE ON THIS ONE AT BID TIME...
In this message from 2004, Ferguson and Kilpatrick appear to be talking about the Book Cadillac hotel project.
Ferguson writes: ...ANYTHING WITH KWAME KIL NEXT TO IT IS NEWSWORTHY, I AM FAMOUS NOW JUST NEED TO GET SOME MONEY
Kilpatrick responds: LOL RIGHT LETS GET YOU SOME
Ferguson says: US, which the feds say means “let’s get us some money.”
There are other messages that discuss Ferguson bringing “something” to Kilpatrick, and Ferguson telling the former mayor to “toss that paper on his desk” but FBI Special Agent Bob Beeckman wasn’t asked to provide much context to those messages – which the defense will likely pounce on when it’s their turn to question him.
“It’s the cross-examination and how the jury perceives it and that’s what it comes down to. So we’ll see what happens,” said Ferguson lawyer Mike Rataj.
Agent Beeckman also played two wiretaps for the jury-- in one Kilpatrick seems to be talking in code to his father Bernard about a member of his staff who had been targeted by the FBI.
In the other wiretap, Bernard asks Ferguson for $2,000. Bernard Kilpatrick’s defense lawyer pointed out there was no evidence his client ever received the money.
Meanwhile, Ferguson defense lawyer Mike Rataj cross-examined IRS agent Rowena Schuch about the cash withdrawals and checks written to cash in 9 of Ferguson’s bank accounts. Schuch told the jury that in a six year period more than $2.5 million was taken out of the accounts.
Rataj got Schuch to agree she didn’t investigate specific checks and he pointed out that several checks written to cash had business expenses like “truck parts” and “employee bonuses” written in the memo line.
Rataj also pointed out that many of the checks were endorsed by Ferguson Enterprise Inc., and the government had no way of tracking which employees were cashing the checks.
The feds say they raided Ferguson’s homes and businesses to look for cash because they suspected criminal activity.
Court will not be held Wednesday so both sides can prepare for the defense witnesses. Testimony will resume on Thursday – but sources tell 7 Action News tha the defense witnesses are not expected to take more than a week or two.
Here are some other texts presented on Tuesday:
Ferguson: WHAT’S THE STATUS ON THE DEMO OF DOUGLASS HOMES (housing project)
Kwame Kilpatrick: I GOT RID OF THE DIRECTOR. HE’S GONE I DON’T KNOW STATUS HE’S GONE
Ferguson: YOU TOLD ME YOU WERE I JUST HOPE THEY DIDN’T MOVE FORWARD
Two days later on 1/8/03:
Ferguson: REMINDER DOUGLASS HOMES DEMO
Ferguson: WHATS THE STATUS BRO
Kwame Kilpatrick: HASN’T BEEN LET WILL TELL YOU STRATEGY LATER
Ferguson: CAN WE GET TOGETHER WHEN YOU PICK UP THE BOYS TOMORROW
Kwame Kilpatrick: COOL!
Ferguson: Club rain, the white boy thinks he is slick don’t have any real money, fei did 20,000 job and he won’t pay is it alright if blds safety f***s with his permit
Kwame Kilpatrick: WILL CALL LATER
Ferguson: AT HOME….
Ferguson to Kwame Kilpatrick: BOOK CADILLAC, CM, IS TRYING NOT TO USE FEI [Ferguson Enterprises] AND GET ADAMO TO DO THE DEMO, GEORGE [Jackson, from DEGC] HAD ME BE HIS GUEST TO LET THEM KNEW HOW CLOSE WE ARE. SEE YA IN DC.
Ferguson: FYI CASINO CONTRCTORS ARE SPINNING [City BS&E Director Amru] MEAH AND ME, LARRY BRINKER, PAUL JENKINS
Kwame Kilpatrick: THEY NEED TO FIND A WAY
Ferguson: I KNOW THAT AND YOU THAT BUT THEM MF THINK THEY DON’T NEED ME OR THE MEAH FOR PERMITS BECAUSE THEIR JOBS ARE HIGH PROFILE AND THE EMAYOR’S OFFICE WILL GIVE THEM THE WORLD
Kwame Kilpatrick: OK
Ferguson: ME AND YOU JUST NEED TO DEAL WITH IT
Kwame Kilpatrick: YEP
Ferguson: DARCI [McConnell, former Detroit News reporter] JUST CALL ME ABOUT DDA [Downtown Development Authority]
Kwame Kilpatrick: DON’T CALL HER BACK
Ferguson: DAMN I ALREADY DID, YOU KNOW I NEVER CALL THEM BACK BUT I KNEW WHAT SHE WONTED AND PLAYED DUMB, BUT ALSO ASK HER WHY IT WAS A PROBLEM IF YOU SIT ON THE BOARD YOU MUST RECUSE YOURSELF [Ferguson was on the DDA