DETROIT (WXYZ) - The Kilpatrick Corruption Trial started on Tuesday with Judge Nancy Edmunds excusing a juror. The young woman has repeatedly been falling asleep during testimony and the Judge decided to replace her with one of the six alternates.
The new juror Number 4 is a retired marine.
“I think what the judge said is correct, there were some particular circumstances there that she had to address that made it difficult for her,” said Bernard Kilpatrick’s lawyer, John Shea.
Shea says the juror fatigue does not seem to be a problem with the others and they seemed to be wide-awake as sparks flew in the courtroom between Kilpatrick attorney Jim Thomas and Assistant U. S. Attorney Eric Doeh Tuesday morning.
The judge had to step in at one point saying, “Everyone ratchet down! No editorial comments!”
Doeh was questioning former State Budget Office Legislative Liaison Kelly Bartlett about state grants that Kwame Kilpatrick wanted for two non-profits back in 2000: Bobby Ferguson’s Detroit 3D and the Vanguard Community Development Corporation. Both non-profits gave part of the state money to Carlita Kilpatrick’s company, U.N.I.T.E., Inc. The government alleges Kilpatrick and Ferguson committed fraud with the grants – but their lawyers deny that.
“Even if it was an ethical concern, they never followed up on it. Ethically - and an ethical concern is not a basis for a RICO charge,” said Thomas earlier in the case.
“Did you think they were doing the wrong thing with the money,” 7 Action News Investigator Heather Catallo asked Bartlett.
Bartlett wasn’t commenting outside of court, but inside he told the jury that he became concerned that some of the grant money may have been used for Kilpatrick’s mayoral campaign. Bartlett also described what he called a startling phone call – where he felt like Kilpatrick was scolding him after the state started demanding more documentation for how the grant money was being spent.
Thomas got Bartlett to admit he never found any proof of the grant money ending up in the campaign money and that the state didn’t require that contractors hired with the grant money be disclosed.
Next to take the stand was Stephen Oshinksy who was once the chief architect of Skytel’s paging system. Oshinsky testified about how City of Detroit text messages were saved on their servers and that he had to give the FBI texts between Christine Beatty, Derrick Miller, Bernard Kilpatrick, Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson.
Kilpatrick lawyer Michael Naughton pressed Oshinsky on how data was retrieved - and it seems clear the defense will be challenging the accuracy of the text messages that are soon to be admitted into evidence.
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