(WXYZ) - For the first time, someone took the stand to say they got money from Bobby Ferguson and gave it to Kwame Kilpatrick.
But the defense tore into that witness and saying he couldn’t remember dates, details or any specifics about that $90,000 money drop.
He introduced Kwame Kilpatrick to his wife back in college and the former mayor once stood up on Mahlon Clift’s wedding.
But Tuesday, Clift was on the witness stand, testifying against the man he considers “a brother who I love.”
Clift told the court he’s a jewelry dealer in Chicago with high-profile rap stars and athletes as clients.
Kwame Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick, former city contractor Bobby Ferguson, and ex-Water department director Victor Mercado are on trial, accused of racketeering and conspiracy.
With Asst. U. S. Attorney Michael Bullotta questioning him, Clift described how he had come to Detroit as Kilpatrick was about to resign due to the text message scandal in late summer or early fall of 2008.
Clift told the jury that while he was staying at the Atheneum Hotel in Detroit, Ferguson brought him a gift bag stuffed with $90,000 in cash.
Clift said Ferguson told him to “Hold on to this for Black.” Clift said "Black" was a nickname Ferguson used for Kilpatrick.
Clift then told the court that he stuffed all $90,000 inside his pants and flew home to Chicago, where he said he “probably” hid it in a vacuum cleaner bag. He said he later visited the former mayor at the Hilton in Southlake, Texas to deliver $50,000. Clift said he gave Kilpatrick the remaining $40,000 in October during a visit to Detroit, days before Kilpatrick was heading to the Wayne County jail.
Kilpatrick sat stone-faced during Clift’s testimony. The defense instantly attacked Clift’s credibility – asking why he needed an immunity agreement to testify – and asking whether his jewelry business includes cash-wielding drug dealers as clients.
Ferguson attorney Mike Rataj got Clift to admit that he had no hotel bill, no airline receipt, no proof at all to show he had stayed at Atheneum for the alleged money drop with Ferguson.
“There are people that obviously are not telling the truth. That’s apparent to me, but I’m not the jury,” said Ferguson lead attorney Gerald Evelyn.
Clift also said he couldn’t remember what Kilpatrick did with the money when he gave it to him in Texas even though they were the only ones in the hotel room. He also said he couldn’t describe what kind of building he went to in Detroit for the second money delivery.
“Is it odd though that he couldn’t remember anything specific about such a seemingly significant amount of money,” Evelyn was asked.
“If someone gave you 90 grand would you know all the details,” said Evelyn.
But the prosecution circled back at the end – and asked Clift: “Do you have any doubt in your mind that you delivered to Kwame Kilpatrick $90,000 in cash given to you by Bobby Ferguson?” He answered: “No.”
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