Defense paints Kilpatrick's former friend as greedy, untrustworthy
6:31 PM, Jan 11, 2013
6:36 PM, Jan 11, 2013
(WXYZ) - Wearing a tether and a scowl, Kwame Kilpatrick stared his former friend in the eye in court on Friday, listening as his lawyer Jim Thomas tried to knock him off his game.
Thomas painted Miller as a crook who couldn't be trusted. He went point-by-point over all of the lies Miller told the FBI in interviews before he was indicted, all the lengths he went to to hide kickbacks he was receiving while inside city government.
Miller copped to all of it, and insisted that now--he's telling the truth. But the message for jurors from Thomas was clear: if you were lying then, how do we know you're not lying now?
Miller insisted he was being truthful.
"He stood his ground, he handled his own, he handled his business, certainly it was rigorous cross-examination," said Miller's attorney Bryon Pitts.
The cross-examination got more rigorous when Thomas said Miller was just a "yes man" for the feds, saying whatever he thought they wanted to hear.
Thomas harped on an error the government admitted to earlier this week--showing a check they said was made out to one of Kilpatrick's political committees. Miller agreed, except it wasn't: the feds confused it with another group that had a similar name.
"Are you going to apologize," asked Thomas. Miller did, but insisted he's not trying to please the government in hopes of a lighter sentence.
"Whether or not the government is happy is truly irrelevant. Cooperation is the issue, he has signed on to do that, it is no secret. Whether or not the cooperation flows into what the government wants, their theory of the case, is not our issue," said Pitts.
After four hours of questioning inside court, Thomas wasn't very talkative outside. That's in part thanks to a new order by Judge Nancy Edmunds-- barring lawyers from talking about witness credibility.
"It takes a lot of work to do it and I'm going to go home and sleep," said Thomas.
Even Ferguson's lawyer Mike Rataj, not known for biting his tongue, kept quiet.
"The judge, she's got us on a short leash right now," said Rataj.