Ferguson attorney takes aim at star government witness Derrick Miller
5:28 PM, Jan 14, 2013
8:26 PM, Jan 14, 2013
(WXYZ) - After five full days on the witness stand, the government's star witness in the Kilpatrick corruption case is finally done testifying.
With a plea deal he hopes will shave years off his pending time in prison, Derrick Miller faced hundreds of questions from defense attorneys and federal prosecutors.
"He's glad it's over with. This was not a pleasurable experience. He wanted to, as I've indicated, he wanted to put this behind him and move on with his life. He's taken one step in that direction," said Miller's attorney Byron Pitts.
Miller's testimony gave jurors a look inside the Kwame Kilpatrick administration.
Detroit's former mayor, his father Bernard Kilpatrick, and his friend Bobby Ferguson are all on trial, accused of running a criminal enterprise out of city hall. The former chief administrative officer of the city was once charged along with his former friends – but Miller pleaded guilty in exchange for his cooperation in the case.
On Monday, Ferguson lead attorney Gerald Evelyn tried to pick apart Miller's testimony, starting all the way back with Miller's time with Kilpatrick in Lansing.
"Did you get across all the points you wanted to get across with him," asked 7 Action News Investigator Heather Catallo.
"Yes, I was satisfied, that I got to ask all the things I wanted to ask and I got answers to all the questions. There were no surprises," said Evelyn.
The feds accuse Ferguson of misspending state grant money that Kilpatrick helped secure, but Evelyn got Miller to admit that he would have no way of knowing whether or not Ferguson created a training space for charity inside Ferguson Enterprises.
Evelyn also got Miller to agree that many other businessmen in Detroit besides Ferguson had a lot of access to the former mayor.
When federal prosecutors were questioning Miller, he testified that several contractors came to him to complain that Ferguson was taking all of their city work. During Monday's cross examination, Miller said that he did not do very much to actually investigate those claims to confirm that any of them had actually lost out on business.
He also admitted that he got illegally paid by a real estate broker to make introductions to city officials.
And Evelyn, like other defense attorneys, tried to paint Miller as a ‘yes' man for the government, driving home the idea that he needs to perform well so federal prosecutors will recommend less than 10 years in prison for him.
Despite his plea deal – Miller's lawyer says he largely withstood the cross examination.
"He kept his composure, answered his questions to the best of his ability, which is what he was sworn to do," said Pitts.
After Miller's five full days on the witness stand, federal prosecutors are moving on to new subjects – namely more text messages, as they continue trying to wrap up this historic case.