Day filled with colorful testimony at Kilpatrick corruption trial

(WXYZ) - From taxes to text messages, the testimony in the Kilpatrick corruption trial was all over the place on on day 48.

Questioning of an IRS Agent continued Friday in the Kilpatrick corruption case-- and out of the gate, the agent adjusted the dollar amount that it's alleged Bernard Kilpatrick failed to pay the IRS.

Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his father Bernard, and his friend Bobby Ferguson are on trial, accused of running a criminal enterprise out of city hall. 

IRS Agent Rowena Schuch at first said Bernard Kilpatrick cheated the IRS by failing to pay more than $184,000 for three different tax years.

On Friday, she told the jury she miscalculated a loan repayment – and said Kilpatrick actually owed a little less than that – over $182,000.

Bernard Kilpatrick's defense attorney John Shea quickly went after Agent Schuch and her method of calculating his client's taxable income.  Shea got Schuch to admit she has no way of knowing where cash deposits into his client's bank accounts came from – and whether they were from things that aren't taxable.

"She can't possibly know what all the non-income items are because as she testified every person with whom Bernard had a financial transaction that year in order to know what's a birthday gift, what's a loan, what's a loan repayment – as opposed to what's something that a customer gave him as cash income," said Shea.

But Schuch insisted that when Bernard Kilpatrick's own relatives testified in front of the grand jury, they had no information about gifts or loans given to Kilpatrick.

"The jury's going to have to sort it out – that's the bottom line. Everybody has different ways of looking at the same things sometimes," said Shea.

Also Friday, FBI Special Agent Bob Beeckman started to introduce new text messages to the jury, as the feds circled back to some of the water department deals that have dominated 4-month trial.

For a $75 million sewer outfalls contract that involved Walbridge Aldinger – a previous witness had testified that he was forced to include Ferguson on the deal.  On Friday, Beeckman showed the jury this text message between Ferguson and the former mayor from 2002.

Ferguson wrote: "Walbridge is not playing ball black man.  These white folks need to be made believers that they are not in control."

Kwame Kilpatrick responded: "Will call later."

The defense has not yet had a chance to question the agent about the text messages, but you can expect them to question the context of that statement.

"There's always a text, and it then it kind of like falls off the cliff – because there's no other texts after that. So how do we know what happened after that particular text," said Ferguson lawyer Mike Rataj.

There is still much more to come on that subject – Agent Beeckman had only just begun his testimony, and it looks like he will be introducing more text messages.
 

Print this article Back to Top

Comments