DETROIT (WXYZ) - The Kilpatrick corruption case is on hold until Wednesday, after one of the attorneys for Bobby Ferguson had to be rushed to the hospital following a bad fall inside the courthouse.
Judge Nancy Edmunds even said to the jurors “It seems like we’re snakebit in this trial,” when she dismissed them for the day.
At the hospital, Susan Van Dusen was checked out for head and neck injuries and there is concern she may have broken her nose.
The Kilpatrick corruption trial has been packed with drama from day one and this case has seen more than its share of lawyer and juror illnesses.
Just moments after a contentious cross examination with government witness Kathleen McCann Monday, Van Dusen tripped on a mat just outside the courtroom.
“She fell face down and hit her face right on the marble floor,” said Ferguson lead attorney Gerald Evelyn.
“Is she ok,” asked 7 Action News Investigator Heather Catallo.
“I hope so, she’s obviously got an injury to her face… We’re supposed to be back tomorrow, we’re hoping – I’m going to go to the hospital now and see how’s she’s doing,” said Evelyn
Evelyn had his own health scare in October. In the midst of his cross-examination of another witness - the veteran criminal defense attorney had to be rushed to the hospital for a heart problem. The trial was delayed two weeks so Evelyn could recover.
“She’s going to get looked at by the doctors and she’ll be fine,” said Ferguson’s other attorney, Mike Rataj.
Each of the attorneys prepare for and question specific witnesses, so passing off the material to another lawyer on the team isn’t a simple proposition.
Before Van Dusen’s fall, she had been sparring with McCann – a former top executive with Soave Enterprises, who’s now CEO of her own company.
Back in 2002, Soave Enterprises owned Inland Waters which had landed a $50 Million water department contract. Federal prosecutors say former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick forced Inland to replace their minority subcontractor with Kilpatrick’s friend, Bobby Ferguson, who allegedly demanded millions but didn’t want to do the actual work.
Kilpatrick, his father, and Ferguson are on trial, accused of racketeering and extortion.
McCann testified that she was so uncomfortable with their “forced marriage” with Ferguson that she took detailed notes and told her employees to document their interactions with him – saying, “We knew we had to step up our game and create a paper trail.”
Van Dusen suggested that the reason McCann had so much trouble with Ferguson was that Inland wanted him to just be a minority front to pass through the revenue from the lucrative sewer lining contract.
McCann refused to budge though – saying over and over again that that wasn’t true – and that they tried repeatedly to get Ferguson to sign a standard contract for the work he was supposed to do.
When Van Dusen said Ferguson was so aggressive because he was fighting for his 200 employees’ livelihoods – McCann fired back, saying “Mr. Ferguson was fighting for himself.”
Meanwhile, federal prosecutors have filed new court records to combat some suggestions defense attorneys made at the start of the case about the man who testified that Ferguson gave him $90,000 in cash to give to the former mayor. At the time, the defense tried to chip away at Mahlon Clift’s credibility when they suggested he never could have gotten money with small metal fibers inside through airport security.
Now the feds want to bring in additional witnesses, including an FBI agent who tested the metal detectors 100 times at metro airport with his pockets stuffed with the $90,000.
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