(WXYZ) - “The scale of the corruption was breathtaking…” Those were just some of the powerful final words from federal prosecutors as they implored the jury in the Kilpatrick corruption case to punish the former mayor.
On Thursday, the defense sparked emotion with an impassioned plea to the jury to stand up to what they called outside pressures. On Friday, in the rebuttal, Assistant U. S. Attorney Mark Chutkow was just as powerful, but in a different way-- saying “corruption depends on indifference.. it’s time for Detroit’s former mayor to be held accountable.”
Despite arguments from the defense that key government witnesses cannot be trusted – Chutkow urged the jury to look at the text messages between the former mayor and Bobby Ferguson – saying they’re “like a crime scene frozen in time.”
Ferguson lead attorney Gerald Evelyn says the defense still thinks the text messages were used out of context.
“The government thinks that they’re very important and I think they think they’re more important than we do, but again that’s all argument. They’re argument and our argument was different. No surprises there,” said Evelyn.
Now that the case is finally in the jury’s hands -- Evelyn also says they feel very confident.
“All I can say is we did as good of a job as I believe was possible under the circumstances. And I think the government did a good job also, and so now it’s time for the jury to make a decision and I think it’s going to – I hope it will be a fair one,” said Evelyn
Chutkow also said the smoking gun in this case is cash. He told the jury – Kwame Kilpatrick “wasn’t elected so he could quietly stuff a half million bucks into his bank accounts… or so his friend Ferguson could cash in on $83 million in city contracts… or so that Bernard Kilpatrick could become a middle man on city deals."
The former mayor’s defense attorney has argued Kilpatrick’s huge cash deposits came from gifts from birthday parties – including one called a “Splash of Red” at the Atheneum Hotel. Chutkow today said Kilpatrick’s reign was no splash of red – it was a tidal wave of green funded by kickbacks and bribes.
Chutkow also asked the jury to work together to hold Kilpatrick accountable.. and he seemed to be imploring them to try to come to an agreement so a mistrial can be avoided.
Evelyn says he’s confident the jury will be diligent.
“I think it’s a good cross section of the community. I think not just racially, but in all other respects that matter. Different walks of life, different jobs and employment experiences,” said Evelyn.
“God is good,” said Ferguson outside federal court.
Now the agony of waiting during the deliberations begins for both sides.
“How do you counsel your client through this waiting period,” asked 7 Action News Investigator Heather Catallo.
“That’s very difficult. He’s an animated, active, aggressive, strong minded person, and it’s hard to wait under those circumstances,” said Evelyn.
“It was a long, long, long trial. And I don’t think any of us will be in ordeal like this again anytime soon. So how am I feeling? I’m feeling pretty good about it being done,” said Bernard Kilpatrick’s lawyer, John Shea.While the 12 member jury held a final lunch with the four alternates who were officially released from service on Friday –outside the courthouse where his freedom will be decided, a well-wisher tried to get an autograph from the former mayor.
“They won’t let me sign that during this thing. I’m sorry,” said Kilpatrick.
“Thanks, man,” said the autograph-seeker.
“You here after the verdict -- I got you! Have a good one, take care sorry about that,” said Kilpatrick, giving our camera a thumbs up as his lawyer drove him away on the final day of the trial.
Then the 12 remaining jurors used Friday afternoon to review their notes before they begin official deliberations on Tuesday morning, since the court is closed Monday for Presidents Day.
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