DETROIT (WXYZ) - The judge is trying to move things along in the Kilpatrick Corruption Case. Fifty-five people are now qualified to serve on the jury.
Day 7 of jury selection began with a juror who lived in Detroit until 2002, and felt like Kwame Kilpatrick was to blame for the lack of police protection in the city. When the former mayor’s lawyer pointed out that Kilpatrick had barely been in office when the laid-off machine operator moved out of the city, he agreed he had a misconception about Kilpatrick.
Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick, his long-time friend Bobby Ferguson, and former Detroit Water Department Director Victor Mercado are all charged with racketeering, accused of running a criminal enterprise.
Another juror said she thought the former mayor could have gone on to be governor, a congressman, or a senator, but he “he blew it.” Assistant U. S. Attorneys seemed to question her extensively about whether she was sad that Kilpatrick didn’t go on to other things, she but she said, “I wasn’t disappointed, cause I didn’t know him. It’s not like I had a connection to him.”
“They want to know what her position is so they can determine whether or not she has any kind of bias as it relates to their case,” said Channel 7 Jury Selection Legal Analyst Anthony Chambers.
A lot of questions seemed to focus on the jurors’ perceptions of the media coverage of Kilpatrick and his co-defendants. One potential juror said about the press, “the don’t give any reasons for why [Kilpatrick] might not have done what he’s accused of.”
Those reasons may be a long time in coming. Because the government presents it’s case first, the jury and the public may not hear the other side for months to come.
“You can only report on what you hear and what you read from the government. Obviously we’re like Jim Schwartz, we’re not going to send our playbook off to Jim Harbaugh two nights before the football game and say here’s what we’re going to do Sunday night,” said Bobby Ferguson defense lawyer Mike Rataj.
Meanwhile, jury questioning Friday did give us a glimpse into some defense strategies.
When Kilpatrick’s attorney Jim Thomas questioned one juror Friday morning, he said “We intend to challenge the government and the way they did their investigation… how it evolved, [and] the tools the powerful government [used].”
But the Assistant U. S. Attorney objected, and the judge stopped the line of questioning.
Legal experts say Mercado’s attorney John Minock is also revealing a bit of strategy by what he’s not doing during the jury questioning.
In the beginning, Minock mainly asked two questions of potential jurors, now he’s not asking any.
“He is clearly minimizing his client, and his client’s involvement. One of the questions that he was asking, is [now] being asked by the judge, and that was whether or not they know or have heard of his client’s name. That’s being asked anyway, so at this stage, he’s just sitting back, kind of sitting on his hands, hoping they forget who his client is,” said Chambers.
The judge wants opening statements to begin on Thursday.
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