DETROIT (WXYZ) - Federal prosecutors used more text messages in the Kilpatrick corruption trial to try to shore up recent testimony.
The feds also announced a new chapter in the case.
They are new allegations that were not part of the original indictment. That’s right - in a RICO case, federal prosecutors can add what are called “overt acts” to the case that contribute to the allegations of racketeering.
And the new chapter the feds are about to enter focuses on the construction of a recreation center in Detroit.
“Anything to say about all those text messages today,” asked 7 Action News Investigator Heather Catallo asked former city contractor Bobby Ferguson. Ferguson isn’t commenting on the slew of text messages federal prosecutors unveiled in court Wednesday.
Many of the messages suggest Ferguson and Kwame Kilpatrick were working behind the scenes to position Ferguson on lucrative water department contracts.
Last week, business tycoon Tony Soave testified that the ex-mayor held up a $50 Million sewer lining contract for one of his companies, Inland Waters Pollution Control. Soave said during a meeting with Kilpatrick, the mayor told him he had the wrong sub-contractor on the deal: and then told him the right contractor was Ferguson.
Soave brought Ferguson Enterprises into the project, but former Soave Vice President Kathleen McCann testified Ferguson wanted profit for no work – and that it took them months to get him to sign a contract.
Today EPA Agent Carol Paszkiewicz showed the jury text messages sent during those contract talks. In this text, Ferguson writes to Kilpatrick: “I meet with them I cool, you know I don’t cry for s*** that don’t help both of us. I didn’t push the 5% issue. I turn in budget numbers for sitework [sic], what we need to talk about is that f***ing Soave.”
Kilpatrick replied: “Yeah I’ll holla later about that”
Federal prosecutors say Kilpatrick also held up a $12 Million Amendment on a contract that involved this massive sinkhole in Sterling Heights.
In one email, an Inland executive wrote to McCann: “Info from Bernard Parker, who talked to QK
[Kwame Kilpatrick], during the weekend, and Amendment is held up until FEI [Ferguson Enterprises] is satisfied.”
The defense got Paskiewicz to admit that the texts don’t prove Kilpatrick ever met with Soave – or that she knew exactly what every message refers to.
“There’s back stories to these text messages, when you got 300,000 text messages, and you pull a handful out to try to create a scenario – it just doesn’t work, it doesn’t hold up. And we all know the individual on the witness stand cannot read minds,” said Ferguson attorney Mike Rataj.
The government also announced new allegations involving the Heilmann Recreation Center on Detroit’s East Side. The 7 Action News Investigators have learned, the feds are expected to say Ferguson got paid to do no work on the project.. an allegation that will be hotly contested by the defense.
There’s no mention of Heilmann in the indictment, but with racketeering charges, federal prosecutors don’t have to include all of the “overt acts” that they believe are part of the case.
“Legally it doesn’t have to be in the indictment, obviously it doesn’t have to be in the indictment. Obviously they filed a 102 page indictment so that’s what you all could grab onto, when it first came down, look at how thick this is ‘oh my goodness gracious.’ But at the end of the day, it could have been 10 pages as opposed to 102,” said Rataj.
Meanwhile, Ferguson's defense attorney Susan Van Dusen is still recovering from a bad fall that she took inside the courthouse on Monday. She is expected to take a few more days to recover, so she won’t resume her cross examination of McCann until a later date.
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