DETROIT - Federal prosecutors suggested to the jury that a document from the defense in the Kilpatrick corruption case was altered.
The jury could be having some real credibility concerns with the defendants right now.
On Wednesday, the feds put up two different witnesses who disputed the dates on a daily field report that the defense had originally introduced into evidence.
The gigantic 15 Mile Rd. sinkhole--it was a huge muddy mess back in 2004--and now it’s causing some mud-slinging inside the Kilpatrick corruption trial.
Federal prosecutors say former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his friend Bobby Ferguson are accused of scheming together to get Ferguson in on some lucrative repair work at the sinkhole. The feds say it took weeks to get Ferguson in on the deal – but he ultimately got hired as a subcontractor to Inland Waters Pollution Control.
Last month, defense attorneys showed the jury a Ferguson Enterprises daily field report that was dated August 23, 2004 – and suggested Ferguson crews had been onsite just one day after the sinkhole happened… not weeks later like the feds alleged.
But today EPA Investigator Carol Paszkiewicz fired back – showing the jury the same document that she retrieved from Inland Waters. Agent Paszkiewicz found the record with a date of 3/23/04.
The clear implication from Paszkiewicz was that someone turned that “3” into an “8.” She also showed other invoices and records that indicated Ferguson and his team did not show up at the sinkhole site until September 14, 2004 -- nearly three weeks after the collapse.
Ferguson defense attorney Mike Rataj got Paszkiewicz to agree that she was not an expert document examiner and that she had no idea who created the document.
“Obviously we have one interpretation and they have another. Just like with the text messages and other documents that have been put in the case,” said Rataj.
“Was the document altered,” asked 7 Action News Investigator Heather Catallo.
“No, of course not the document wasn’t altered. Not at all,” said Rataj.
Next up, federal prosecutors called Walter Rozycki from Inland Waters to the stand. Rozycki also told the jury that Ferguson did not arrive on scene to work for them at the sinkhole until September 14.
During cross examination, Rozycki admitted that he doesn’t know why his records were dated for March 2004 – and he said mistakes are often made on reports.
From documents to asbestos abatement-- federal prosecutors then switched gears to address allegations that Kilpatrick and Ferguson conspired to make sure Ferguson got a multi-million dollar contract for the renovation of the Book Cadillac Hotel.
The former owner of Jomar Construction, Odell Jones, testified that Ferguson did not seem to care about his employees when the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality sent asbestos violations to Ferguson. Jones said Ferguson told him he was a punk and that he’d turned into a puppet for the white man.
During cross examination, Jones admitted that there were no violations at all from MDEQ alleging that Ferguson’s employees were working without protective gear. Ferguson lead attorney Gerald Evelyn did not get to finish questioning Jones.
“Mr. Jones has to be cross examined by Mr Evelyn, and again, it’s a different tenor here out on the street, because of the judge’s order so we have to be mindful of that. And we can’t comment on the evidence, we can’t comment on the veracity of the witnesses,” said Rataj, referring to a new order from Judge Edmunds that limits what the lawyers can say about the case.
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