Defendant in first Wayne County Corruption probe trial says friendship got him in trouble with feds

DETROIT (WXYZ) - A dramatic turn in the Wayne County Corruption probe! The man on trial says "friendship" got him in trouble with the feds.

The 7 Action News Investigators broke the stories that led to the federal probe.

Zayd Allebban is a former Wayne County IT staffer who could be behind bars for up to 20 years if convicted of falsifying records.

Today he told the jury he did nothing wrong and thought he was only helping two friends.

Allebban worked for Tahir Kazmi who headed Wayne County's information technology department.

Kazmi and Allebban were friends and the government accuses them of conspiring to get county contractor Philip Shisha to keep quiet about $80,000 he gave Kazmi.

Allebban is accused of creating records to make it look like the cash Shisa gave Kazmi was a loan.

Allebban testified that he thought Kazmi and Shisa were his friends, who he thought he was helping.

Allebban talked to 7 Action News outside federal court shortly after he got off the stand. He told us the two men who he thought were his friends lied to him and that's how he wound up in all this trouble with the feds. 

"I do know that both Phillip and Tahir misrepresented information to me," Allebban said. "I acted on that information and I'm now a target of the government. Hopefully, through this trial we can get the real story out there most of all to the jury."

Kazmi pleaded guilty to taking bribes last year and is cooperating with the feds. But he has not been sentenced

Allebban wanted Kazmi to testify in his trial, but Kazmi said no way and the judge agreed, saying Kazmi has a right to remain silent.

Allebban's trial is expected to wrap up on Thursday.
 

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